Goldies Sing & Smile Sessions
The Golden-Oldies Charity, more fondly referred to as ‘Goldies’, was founded by Bath-based musician Grenville Jones in 2007. For many years Grenville had built a reputation as one of the UK’s foremost choir leaders and had learnt first-hand of the positive social effects of singing in a choir or a music group.
“I wanted to grab the atmosphere of fun and friendship and bring it to older isolated people through daytime ‘singalongs’ of the memory-evoking hits of the 60s and onwards.”
Grenville himself took the first four sessions in and around Bath and Bristol in 2008 and is always quick to point out that his Charity is NOT about choir singing.
“Goldies gives older isolated people something to look forward to, a chance to get out, make new friends and singalong to those popular hits of the past.”
From small beginnings, and with Sir Cliff Richard as Patron, the work of the Charity has grown across England and Wales (Goldies Cymru) and, prior to Lockdown, in March 2020 there were over 200 daytime fun singalong Goldies sessions. These sessions took place in Libraries, community rooms and Church halls and were led by dedicated session leaders from various backgrounds, all with one thing in common – they shared the common view that singing together made you feel better and always brought a smile!
Those attending the sessions were older people living in community housing, adults with learning difficulties and people living with dementia – everyone is welcome at a Goldies session.
Over the years the Charity has received considerable support from many philanthropic Trusts, Local Authorities, Organisations and the National Lottery in both England and Wales. There has also been considerable media coverage of Goldies over the years and, most recently, the popular ITV soap Emmerdale featured Goldies during its commercial breaks. This was made possible with the support of the People’s Postcode Lottery Community Fund.
Academic studies have also endorsed the benefits that the Golden-Oldies Charity brings to older people – these can be accessed through the website.
Goldies has also worked with Primary Schools in recent years with support from the Lottery Heritage Fund and in 2018 received the accolade of winning the Education Category of the National Lottery Awards – a project based on the music of the First World War! the award being presented to Grenville by Katherine Jenkins.
Forced by Covid to close all sessions, Goldies looked to the internet, Facebook and YouTube to bring its fun sessions to people in their homes. Popular Wales-based leaders Rachel Parry and Cheryl Davies lead the twice-weekly sessions under the www.goldieslive.com banner, with people joining from their homes across the United Kingdom. As the country emerges from Lockdown plans are in place to reintroduce the Goldies sessions that were forced to close and also to introduce more sessions in both England and Wales. This will be in partnership with the many organisations and community groups with whom a close working relationship has been forged in recent years.