Local charity St John’s Foundation has launched a new programme, At Home with St John’s, providing online activities for over 55s in Bath and North East Somerset.
Designed to ensure that its suite of activities can continue despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the charity is offering the first week of classes completely free of charge.
Ricky Bush, Community Outreach Service Manager, St John’s Foundation, said: “We are really excited to be launching At Home with St John’s, and we would love to see as many people as possible join us for our first week and get a flavour of what’s on offer.
“Having to suspend our regular programme due to Covid-19 has meant that our regular attendees have had to miss out on their weekly social groups, but it’s great to be able to continue with a virtual activity programme.”
The At Home with St John’s weekly timetable includes a variety of classes ranging from Tai Chi to cook-a-longs to learning to play the ukulele.
All of the sessions have been designed to give participants the opportunity to learn new skills, enjoy mental and physical health benefits and, importantly, be able to ‘meet up’ with both old acquaintances and new, like-minded people, courtesy of the internet.
Jayne Howse, Community Outreach Service Officer, highlighted one of the special benefits they hope At Home with St John’s will offer.
She said: “Pre-Covid, many of our attendees became firm friends and forged strong relationships through attending our classes – these same relationships have proved vital lifelines during lockdown.
“Our hope is that At Home with St John’s will give more people the chance to develop new friendships and feel far less isolated.”
St John’s Foundation has been delivering activities for the over 55s for the past five years, and as Community Outreach Service Officer, Sam Norris, explained, the team hopes this new online programme will become a permanent fixture of their service, alongside their regular programme when guidance allows them to safely reinstate it.
He said: “An online programme is instantly accessible, and this is incredibly important for a community adjusting to life with Covid-19, particularly for people who are unable to travel due to, for example, transport or health issues.
“We know it may be some time before we can resume activities within our hubs, so while our current At Home with St John’s timetable offers a class at 10am and 2pm each weekday, our goal is to add even more classes as we move forward.”
To ensure as many participants as possible can enjoy the new classes on offer, St John’s has teamed up with Connecting Generations, who will provide step-by-step guidance for anyone new to Zoom (the online platform for accessing the service).
The free classes will run from Monday 22nd June – Friday 26th June, after which they will cost £3.50 each – which covers the cost of the tutors.
To find out more about the new timetable or to book your free class, visit: https://stjohnsbath.org.uk/what-we-do/activities/.