Charity reaches out with virtual singalongs during lockdown

Martyn Paddon compering memories

Martyn Paddon compering memories - Credit: Martyn Paddon

The chairman of a Brixham charity has learned to Zoom to carry on his famous singalong events.

Martyn Paddon, head of Brixham Does Care, with his wife Josephine, hosted the popular events at the BDC cafe, as well as entertaining at care homes, memory cafes and social clubs. 

Now they have taken to hosting events online. 

While the charity has had to close its offices and cafe due to the pandemic and been unable to run its regular groups and activities, its staff were able to move up to The Friends Centre, on the Brixham Hospital site, which BDC manages on behalf of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. 

They have worked tirelessly manning phone lines to take calls from those requiring help and support, and co-ordinating staff and volunteers collecting prescriptions and shopping, for those unable to venture out themselves.

Regular phone calls have been made to those requiring a friendly ear and support.     

Martyn explained: “The biggest irony, however, is that the majority of people who would normally attend activities in order to benefit from face-to-face social interaction with other people, are difficult to reach, at present.

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“During lockdown, like many other people I have turned to the internet, and watched numerous videos on You Tube to learn new skills.  

“These include communicating with family and friends, especially over the festive period, using Zoom meetings.   

“What appeared to be daunting, at first, soon became incredibly easy to access, and I have since managed to join in with, and even host, Zoom singalongs with various local memory cafes.” 

The response was heart-warming with comments such as: “We never realised how easy it was to join the Zoom meetings.”    

Others said: ”I was quite touched to see familiar faces once again.”  

Martyn continued: “It occurred to me that, until we can physically meet up again in the same room, perhaps this new tool is the only one available to us that would replicate something like human interaction.  

“I therefore implore carers, friends and family members to consider offering their help to link up their loved ones onto a Zoom meeting.”