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Togetherness at care home tango time

By Aimee Jones | Chirk | News | Published:

A 95-year-old woman is among care home residents showing the younger generation how to tango their way to health thanks to a revolutionary exercise project.

Pupils Cerys Roberts and Archie Griffiths with activities co ordinator Mandi Southern and resident Megan Roberts

The Strictly Come Dancing enthusiasts are partnering with eight and nine-year-olds at Chirk Court Care Home, in Chirk, in a project designed to promote intergenerational friendships and improve wellbeing.

The weekly dance sessions, which draw on a host of dance style, are attended by up to 20 elderly residents at any one time.

Once a month, the home invites around 10 schoolchildren from nearby Ysgol y Waun to join in.

Ysgol Y Waun pupils at Chirk Court Care Home

Nan Roberts, 95, originally from Glyn Ceiriog, said: “I look forward to the dance and exercise class each week. I’ve made lots of friends and enjoy spending time with the school children on their visit.”

The residents do a sit-down version of the Tango and jazz dances, and are even willing to give hip hop a go.

Mandi Southern, activities coordinator said: “Wherever possible we encourage people to carry on their hobbies. We’ve created a vegetable patch, we’ve bought a football net for one gentleman who still loves to kick a ball and now we have these exercise classes and why not? Life is for living.

“There’s a lot of giggling of course and fun. We’ve even danced to the Full Monty – that saw everybody running in from outside to see what was going on."

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Skye Morris with resident Annie Harper

Chirk Court, managed by ClwydAlyn Housing Ltd, successfully applied for a £1,800 Community Plus Award last year as part the company’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

The funding, which was granted to expand the home’s intergenerational work, ensures Chirk Court can continue providing the dance sessions until the end of the year at least.

The sessions are led by Denbigh-based dance practitioner Anita Lloyd who also goes into the primary school each week to raise awareness of dementia among the schoolchildren.

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Nan Roberts taking part in the dancing sessions

John Roberts, headteacher of Ysgol Y Waun, said: “Pupils in years 3 and 4 have really enjoyed learning dance routines and sharing a dance class with the residents at Chirk Court.

“Everyone gets involved to the best of their ability. It is important that children learn to value their community and everyone who lives within it.

“Various school groups visit Chirk Court across the school year and this includes visits from the school choir. After the class the residents like to chat to the children - sharing stories over a cup of tea.

“These dance classes have been very beneficial and we hope that with continued support and funding we will be able to continue working on similar projects in years to come.”

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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