TV presenter Kate Thornton has championed a Glasgow charity supporting older people’s mental wellbeing
TV presenter, Kate Thornton, has met with a Glasgow-based charity and social enterprise to champion its energetic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Weekday Wow Factor has been hosting high-energy social activities, including virtual daytime discos, to help the older residents of Glasgow feel connected and uplifted during lockdowns.
The video chat between Thornton and Pasna Sallis, an occupational therapist and founder of Weekday Wow Factor, was captured as part of a nationwide Charity Champs campaign launched by the National Emergencies Trust (NET) this week.
Backed by celebrities across the UK, the campaign celebrates the incredible contribution that charities and local groups have been making to their communities for nearly a year now.
During their conversation, Sallis tells Thornton how Weekday Wow Factor used funding from the National Emergencies Trust to adapt and transfer their usual activities online. It has meant that they can continue to connect older people in Glasgow from a safe social distance.
Pre-pandemic, the Weekday Wow Factor introduced their older members to exciting and unconventional activities such as surfing, zip-lining and day-time discos.
Sallis said: “Panic set in at the beginning. How are we going to actually remain sustainable? Then we moved onto Zoom all together, learning together.”
A number of Weekday Wow Factor’s members also play a starring role in the video, striking a pose to Madonna’s Vogue to show how they’ve danced their way to positive mental health during a difficult year. One describes what Weekday Wow Factor means to the group. They said: “It gives us something everyday to move ourselves, get our makeup on and make ourselves feel like human beings.”
Thornton said: “It’s a long time to be locked down on your own, to be isolating, to be shielding. It all rests on those shoulders and sometimes you just need to throw your shoulders back. Music is an incredible therapy, I think. I defy anybody to look at the work you do and not smile.”
Weekday Wow Factor is one of more than 13,000 projects funded by the National Emergencies Trust’s Coronavirus Appeal since its launch in March 2020. They are one of 1,400 Scottish charities and groups to receive a grant from the appeal through Foundation Scotland, the community foundation for Scotland. To-date Foundation Scotland has distributed more than £7 million across Scotland’s communities on behalf of the National Emergencies Trust’s. The nationwide appeal has raised £97 million and more than £94 million of this has reached communities UK-wide.
Like Weekday Wow Factor, 25% of charities and groups have used funding from the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal to support people’s mental health and wellbeing, while another 10% have specifically focused on addressing social isolation.
Mhairi Sharp, chief executive of the National Emergencies Trust, said: “For nearly a year now people in charities all around the UK have put others’ needs before their own to help those hard-hit by the pandemic. The creativity and compassion they’ve shown in the face of such difficult times is truly inspirational. We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and thank champs like Pasna at Weekday Wow Factor for their efforts, and we’re so pleased that Kate Thornton and many others have been keen to join us.”