A PROJECT focused on preventing isolation and loneliness in older people in Newport has spoken about the challenges it has faced in lockdown.

Newport community group, Reality Theatre, was recently given £99,042 from the National Lottery Community Fund to support its work with older people. Usually this would be used to host art workshops and social events, but due to coronavirus they’ve changed their approach.

Director of Reality Theatre, Juls Benson, said: “We’ve followed government guidelines to the letter, and we are desperate to help people.

“We kept waiting for lockdown to be over, but eventually decided we had to be creative, so we’re working as if we are hosting a pantomime, but with people working from home.”

South Wales Argus:

Last year's pantomime was a hoot. (Picture: Kamila Jarczak)

Their pantomime – titled The Show Must Go On – is hoped to be performed next year which Ms Benson said will be a “big celebration.”

Originally the group planned to create micro-bubbles, allowing a safe number of people to engage in weekly sessions and activities, but this proved difficult due to community spaces being closed or having staff working from home.

Undeterred, staff and volunteers have been doing everything they can to support people.

South Wales Argus:

Reality Theatre are trying to bring older people together and improve their mental health.

“Some of these people have not seen a single soul in months,” added Ms Benson.

“I understand the risks [of coronavirus] but there’s also a duty of care – it’s wrong to keep these people isolated.

“Even if only a handful of people read this and get involved it’ll be a positive thing and we’ll arrange to get the resources out there.

“Those already involved are keen and eager. As it’s Lottery funded we need to find out what people want, which is why we’ve tried to make the pantomime a variety show; there will be lots of different scenes, songs, danced, all mixed up into one giant show.”

South Wales Argus:

Coronavirus and isolation has been a challenge for many.

To find out more, or get involved, e-mail therealitytheatrecompany@gmail.com or find them on Facebook @realitytheatre