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Our population is becoming increasingly elderly. Ageing can be hard work with the accompanying physical and mental problems and for those living with a dementing illness. The lack of control and diminished activity, the loneliness, fear and isolation can be overwhelming.

This short film is about a community on the Welsh border, which, since June 2006, has used a weekly Tea Dance to bring together a complete mixture of people, mostly old, but also children, teenagers, carers, people living with a disability, dementia and boredom, as well as people who just want to keep fit and healthy through dancing.

This event has enabled people to use their strengths to help each other, to break down fears and misguided assumptions, to be socially involved and active. Its aim is to enable people’s identities to flourish and in turn enrich each other’s lives for an afternoon each week.

The Tea Dance was started by Georgie Meadows whilst she was an occupational therapist with the NHS working with the elderly mentally ill. It is held in the ballroom of Bridges Community Centre in Monmouth. A qualified dance instructor leads an hour of dancing followed by tea, cake and a chat. When she left her job in the NHS to concentrate on her art practice, Georgie continued to run the project as a volunteer.

The Tea Dance fulfils many therapeutic and social needs including increasing strength, mobility and confidence, lifting mood, a chance for physical contact and creates a social routine – as well as being good fun!

We would like to thank all of the people who help to make this project possible, practically, financially and by sharing their lives on a Thursday afternoon.