PEOPLE of all ages enjoyed great food and a trip down memory lane at a free vintage tea party at Newport Memorial Hall last Tuesday, May 21,

The event celebrated the culmination of the town's Age Cymru project to encourage older people to engage with their community, run by the community forum.

This was part of a Wales-wide programme to combat loneliness and isolation.

As part of the programme the forum took over weekly sessions of easy exercises to music, which had been initiated by Newport Time Bank.

The sessions each Monday in the Garden Room of Newport Memorial Hall have proved very popular as have the refreshments provided after each session by the forum so that the group can relax together and socialise if they want to.

The class has been taught by Arts Care Gofal Celf which has agreed to take over and subsidise the class so that it can continue every Monday from 2-3pm, with attendees paying a small sum.

Also, as part of the programme, the forum started a town newsletter. Four bilingual editions of this have been delivered, mostly by hand, to local households. They have also been available from Newport Post Office and the Community Library.

"The forum learnt early on, from its survey of needs and volunteer assets, that people don't easily declare themselves lonely and ask for help," said a spokesman for the group.

"All the community can do is to provide happy and useful activities and help people get to them, in the hope that many people will join in and enjoy others' company, and thereby strengthen community support."