Programme Leader of Goldies Cymru, Cheryl Davies

Singalongs are ‘golden’ for oldies who want to socialise

Goldies Cymru charity for older people is preparing to celebrate landmark anniversary

A CHARITY that gives elderly people the chance to sing together is gearing up to celebrate its tenth anniversary later this month.

Goldies Cymru is a registered charity and runs eight regular Sing & Smile sessions across Cardiff. Pop singer Cliff Richard is a patron for the group.

Programme leader Cheryl Davies said: “We are not a choir! We are just a fun and friendly singalong group. We don’t even know what we will sing each week and social singalongs are at the heart of what we do.”

The session in Llanedeyrn runs on the first Wednesday of each month. There are five regular participants who enjoy their time together. There is also no set fee for attending, but those who do come along are asked to contribute £3 for the charity.

“It is the best thing since sliced bread,” said Chris, a participant of the Llanedeyrn group. “You don’t realise how good it is just to be able to sing.”

The small groups can choose from a songbook of 80 songs. This includes popular hits from the 1950s onwards. Maracas and other musical instruments are provided so singers can tap their own rhythms out. Each participant can choose a song for the group to sing while there is tea, coffee, and biscuits available for in between singing.

The songs on the agenda for the group included Country Roads by John Denver, I Have a Dream by ABBA, and Delilah by Tom Jones – a crowd pleaser for the session.

Covid lockdowns changed how the charity operated. Cheryl helped to run online sessions via YouTube called Goldies Live where anyone who wanted could join from home for a singalong to raise their spirits.

Since restarting in-person sessions, groups have seen numbers fall. The Llanedeyrn group has seen a drop from 15-20 attendees, to four or five a session.

Another attendee, Pat, said: “People got so used to being at home that many people I know are still anxious to go outside to things.”

Another factor in declining numbers is a lack of access to social media for the age group. Chris said: “You do not know about it if you do not have Facebook.” So word of mouth is crucial to get people to give it a go.

The charity receives funding from The National Lottery alongside long-term support from The Moondance Foundation, a charitable foundation which supports small groups and organisations. This has been invested in replacing the songbooks with screens for lyrics to be projected onto.

The charity is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a Cardiff-based Good Old Singalong and The Great Goldies Bake Off on Thursday, November 17, at Park End Church, Llandennis Road. It will be attended by the charity’s founder, Grenville Jones, and is open for anyone who has attended a session.