THE Goldies Cymru charity is increasing its online content to include gentle exercise at home as coronavirus lockdown in Wales puts an even greater emphasis on the isolation and wellbeing of older people,

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots, said: “Keeping active is really important for older people’s well-being and helps them to stay healthy and independent. But the pandemic has meant that many of the usual opportunities for older people to keep active have been lost.

“So I’m really pleased to see that Goldies Cymru is working in partnership with NHS Wales to deliver a series of gentle chair-based exercise sessions that will help older people to get moving safely at home throughout the winter weeks ahead.”

When the charity was forced by Covid to cancel all of its daytime sessions across West Wales last March – including groups in Cardigan, Newcastle Emlyn and Crymych - it then introduced online sessions through Facebook and YouTube.

These then developed to become twice weekly with Tuesday sessions taken by Rachel Parry and Thursdays with Cheryl Davies. Rachel and Cheryl have both worked for the charity for a number of years taking regular daytime sessions.

With Cheryl’s Thursday session based on the popular Goldies format of singing with well-loved popular songs and onscreen words, the Tuesday 11am sessions led by Rachel have developed into a more magazine-style format.

Rachel said: “We have had a fantastic response from our older folk and we now try to feature a different subject each Tuesday.

“The chair-based exercises encourage people to stretch as well as sing and we hope to develop these in the weeks ahead.

“Our Bollywood sessions have been extremely popular and next week Sarita Sood will again be teaching us some lovely simple Bollywood dance moves which will be inserted into our Tuesday session by video.

“Line Dancing has always been a very popular part of Goldies sessions and we will be introducing more of those in the future using videos that were taken before Lockdown at our hugely popular Rhydypennau weekly Goldies session, led by Sue Thomas.”

www.goldieslive.com is easy to access and is also freely available on YouTube and through Facebook.

Goldies Founder, Grenville Jones, added: “When we were forced to cancel our live Goldies sessions last year this meant that our older folk could not come to us to enjoy a session in their community room, church hall or library.

“As they could not come to us, through the internet, we took Goldies into their homes and sofa-singing started.”