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Over 55's enjoy free laughing yoga workshop at Forres Community Centre

By Jonathan Clark

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PEOPLE over the age of 55 enjoyed trying laughter yoga for the first time at a free taster class last week.

The uplifting session took place at The Garden Room at Forres House Community Centre and was part of First Time for Everything, a programme designed by Royal Voluntary Service and supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The programme's aim is to give people an opportunity to try something new for free in their local community.

Over 55s took part in a laughter yoga session at Forres House Community Centre on Monday.
Over 55s took part in a laughter yoga session at Forres House Community Centre on Monday.

Local laughter yoga leader, Manda Stretch, who hosted the class, explained that laughter yoga was developed 20 years ago by Indian medical doctor, Madan Kataria, who realised how much quicker his patients recovered when he involved laughter in their care.

Sharon Finlay, Royal Voluntary Service activity co-ordinator for Moray, said: “It was a lovely afternoon. Manda really put us all at ease and made it feel very natural.

"By the end of the session, we were all genuinely falling about laughing. Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’ll be offering a wide range of exciting First Time for Everything activities each month at different locations around Moray.”

Participants also had high praise for the session. Sally Dickson said: “I haven’t laughed so hard for ages."

Isabel Taylor added: “It was great fun, it was like being at a nursery for adults!”

The First Time for Everything programme launched in 2017. Since then, more than 700 First Time for Everything events have taken place across Great Britain.

More than 10,000 people have come along to date to try activities like yoga, paddle boarding, learning British sign language, treetop trekking and pottery.

According to a pre-pandemic participant survey, 93 per cent of respondents said they felt happier after attending a First Time for Everything event and 75 per cent felt more connected to their local community.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Staying active and connected to our local community are vitally important to our wellbeing, whatever our age, mobility or circumstances.

"First Time for Everything is a wonderful way for local people to come together to try something new and have fun. We all need that at the moment and I’m pleased that players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting the programme.”

The next First Time for Everything event in Moray will be a Nature Forage Walk at Quarrel Wood in Elgin on Friday, October 29, at 10am.

For more information about First Time for Everything activities, contact Royal Voluntary Service activity coordinator, Sharon Finlay, on 07974 415713 or email sharon.finlay@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk.

To find out more about local volunteering opportunities with Royal Voluntary Service, visit volunteering.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/volunteering.

To make a donation to support the charity’s work during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, visit: royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk/donate.

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