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Page last updated at 10:51 GMT, Monday, 3 January 2011
Golden Oldies charity found to benefit the elderly

Golden Oldies ladies singing
Around 90% of choir members said it had a positive impact on their lives

Local singing groups are improving the health of its members, research from the University of Bath has found.

Bath-based Golden Oldies is a music project which gives older people the chance to get together as part of an informal choir.

The participants, known as Goldies, enjoy singing sessions to music from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Now, research has found 90% of those taking part say it is having a positive impact on their wellbeing.

"They're confident," said Dr Barbara Teater who carried out the study.

"[We asked them] whether or not it helps them relax, or reduce stress.

"[We] actually found that over 90% reported that they either agreed, or strongly agreed, that it was having a positive effect on their life".

'New friends'

Golden Oldies was started three years ago by choirmaster Grenville Jones.

There are now more than 60 sessions across the west, including in Swindon, Weston-super-Mare, Gloucester and Yeovil.

And Dr Teater added that the choir members that they questioned mentioned another surprising benefit.

"It's increased social contact; they are making new friends," she said.

Golden Oldies founder Grenville Jones
Grenville Jones founded the Golden Oldies choir three years ago

"And also some people have reported that because they felt so lifted by this experience of getting out and singing, that they have reduced prescription medications that they are saying is due to their participation in Golden Oldies."

Choir founder Grenville Jones said he understood the impact that the musical meetings can have.

"I'm now one of about 16 people who take the sessions across the area," he said.

"We know each week when we go and take the sessions that we're having an effect on people's lives.

"We see the smiley faces, we see the feet tapping, we see the friendships being made".

Mr Jones added that he had spoken to Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow, Minister of State for Care Services at the Department of Health, about getting extra funding for the scheme.

Grenville also said that he is even keen to make the service available on prescription.

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