A charity that started in Bath 10 years ago today (November 9th) launched its new intergenerational programme for primary schools commemorating the final years of the First World War and the Armistice on November 11 1918.
A new supporting website www.ourmemories.org.uk has gone live this week. The programme is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund South West, the Garfield Weston Foundation and The Royal British Legion.
Bath based musician Grenville Jones started the Golden-Oldies charity in November 2007. His experience as a choir leader had shown how singing in a group made a huge social difference to people’s lives. Always quick to emphasise that “Goldies,” as it is more fondly known, is NOT about choir singing, the charity has made remarkable progress in the past 10 years.
“I saw the joy and friendships at my choirs and wanted to grab that atmosphere of fun and take it to older people who are isolated and who have little to look forward to.”
Grenville took the first four Goldies daytime sessions himself in and around Bath in sheltered housing community rooms, based on the memory-evoking songs of the 60s and onwards.
Now, 10 years later, there are 50 freelance session leaders, an army of volunteers and 100 sessions across Southern England, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Essex. In South Wales as Goldies Cymru and with the support of the BIG Lottery Wales, there will be an additional 65 sessions by the end of 2017.
Back in 2010 in Bath the charity started an intergenerational programme with schools, encouraging them to open their doors to older people in their community. As it developed it was recognised by a number of organisations including Lottery England, Goldies being nominated in the prestigious national UK Lottery awards in their educational category.
The most recent programme in 2014 ran across the South West and was based on the first two years of WW1 1914- 1916. Hundreds of schools took part with heritage and memorabilia days, concerts and special events.
The new programme encourages primary schools to commemorate the final months of WW1 leading up to November 11 next year and the anniversary of the Armistice.
At the launch today children from four Bath & North East Somerset schools were represented. They included Farmborough Primary School, St John’s Catholic Primary School, Welton Primary School and Widcombe Junior School.
Supporting the programme is a new website for schools to access
As well as containing a host of guidance notes for teachers on WW1 projects it also includes medleys of songs from 100 years ago for children to learn and sing as part of their commemorations in the months leading up to November 2018.
Ian Dewey is chairman of the Golden-Oldies charity. He told a packed St Michaels church.
“Grenville’s vision was to give older people a reason to get out and have fun through daytime singing and activity sessions. The school programme extends this with chances for primary schools to invite local people in to join together in memorabilia days and concerts that recognise the significance of the final months of WW1.”