The Goldies Charity are well known and loved for our daytime Sing&Smile sessions. These sessions, prior to the lockdown, numbered 220 groups across England and Wales, reaching 3500 people every month. These fun social sing-a-long sessions, alongside intergenerational activities, Age Awareness days, concerts and festive celebrations, aim to combat isolation with older isolated and often vulnerable people, building stronger communities and supportive friendships.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant the temporary closure of all Sing&Smile sessions across England and Wales from March 2020. But we adapted quickly with the launch of our first ever digital service – GoldiesLive – fun, free online sing-a-long sessions every Tuesday and Thursday at 11am on YouTube, Facebook and our dedicated website. Our new GoldiesLive sessions are having a positive effect on hundreds of our beneficiaries who enjoy singing along to the popular hits of the 50s onwards with the onscreen words, taking part in movement to music activities, commenting on/sharing Goldies music, making song requests, sharing special occasions and getting involved from home. This December will see lots of festive fun and in January we will be trying some Bollywood!
See full details and sessions on our website. Here is what Mike from Stoke Gifford has to say about his experience with Goldies, “A few years ago I was a fulltime carer for my wife. When she passed, I joined an After Carers group in Fishponds which was a bit of a journey. I met a lady called Joan who recommended Goldies to me as it was on my doorstep, so I went along and found a whole new group of friends. I was hooked from the start and you couldn’t keep me away. We have done so many exciting trips and activities. I have joined the launch party of the 200th Goldies session, the Bristol Goldies Day and many others, I even went to sing in the Parliament! I can’t recommend it enough, it has been my life.”
Mike also joined the GoldiesLive sessions, which he says have been really great during this difficult year. Mike adds, “My session leader Adele told me about it. She is wonderful and has been calling me from time to time to catch up. I have formed a support bubble with Joan and we meet once a week and watch both the Tuesday and Thursday sessions back to back on my laptop through YouTube. We sing-a-long and I am up and dancing, waving my arms around. Sometimes I watch them again when I am home alone. The leaders Rachel and Cheryl are just brilliant, they do so well. I do laugh when Rachel brings out her guitar! I love the clips they have included from other session leaders and I would love more of that.”
When allowed Mike’s Goldies group still meet up. Although due to restrictions the group is not able to meetup but when they do, they are very careful with social distancing. Mike says, “We have renamed ourselves the Goldies Laughter Club. We can’t wait for Goldies to start up again. I find it so beneficial for me, when we do restart I’m thinking about joining another Goldies group too, maybe the new Gloucester Old Spot session as I’d love to be in a group led by Rachel, I feel I know her well now.”
GoldiesLive sessions have helped people like Mike during the lockdown. He acknowledges, “Right from the start of lockdown GoldiesLive gave me something to get into, a welcome continuation of something I was used to. It puts me in a good mood, and I wouldn’t be without it. I do miss the social side when we can’t meet as a group, but after I have watched a GoldiesLive session I ring round my friends and we chat about it so I am still getting that social contact. Goldies is very, very good. If I had my way I would go back to the Stoke Gifford session, join more sessions and I would still do it on the laptop every week too.”