Zumba, yoga, ballet and sewing - 'virtual village hall' launches to help beat boredom and isolation

A ‘Virtual Village Hall’ has launched offering an online activity programme for older people looking to beat the boredom of isolation.

By Ben O'Connell
Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 4:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:53 pm
A pre-lockdown Silver Swans ballet class
A pre-lockdown Silver Swans ballet class

The brainchild of the Royal Voluntary Service – the national charity delivering the volunteer effort for the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme in England – the scheme will feature a series of themed video sessions.

Activities include gentle exercise, arts and crafts, cooking and baking, technology skills and quizzes with beatboxing, laughter yoga and Zumba Gold.

The first live session was at 3pm today (April 28) with Zumba and the next are: Wednesday, April 29, 3pm – Laughter Yoga; Thursday, April 30, 3pm – Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans beginners’ ballet class.

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The sessions are led by expert tutors, some well-known faces, Royal Voluntary Service activity coordinators and volunteers, and are supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Winner of The Great British Sewing Bee 2019, Juliet Uzor, will be demonstrating how to sew a simple tote bag, 2019 Masterchef winner Irini Tzortzoglou will be sharing her quick fried pitta bread recipe and couture stitcher Georgina Bellamy will introduce basic embroidery for beginners.

Sessions will be available seven days a week, with both live and pre-recorded activities, via https://www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/VVH

All sessions will be available to access on demand on the Virtual Village Hall YouTube channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiUut4H6sGiPbkYVudFAZ4Q

Catherine Johnstone CBE, chief executive at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Our volunteers run hundreds of clubs and groups in local communities which, with the support of People’s Postcode Lottery, support people to be social and active. Sadly, with social distancing rules in place, these activities can no longer go ahead.

“Lockdown conditions are particularly tough for older people and those living alone and we wanted to offer something practical to relieve the sense of isolation and boredom that many people will be experiencing.

“Visitors to the Virtual Village Hall will find lots of activities that they might already enjoy doing as well as a wide range of new things to try. Activities have been designed specifically for older people to do at home and require very little space or equipment.”