Children as young as three, senior citizens in their late 80s and people in wheelchairs have been taking part in free exercise classes provided by a Slough community group since lockdown restrictions began.

Apna Virsa is a community organisation based in Church Street, Slough set up in 2007 to explore, share and celebrate South Asian culture and heritage with the larger community. It was forced to cancel its regular classes around Slough, South Bucks and Windsor and Maidenhead in late March as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

But organisers refused to be defeated by the virus and managed to keep the sessions going online - running four sessions in bhangra, yoga-pilates and yoga. They are now catering for twice as many people as before.

On an overall weekly basis, the group has been getting between 450 and 500 people tuning-in via Facebook and Instagram live. Apna Virsa’s regular classes would have fetched anything between 35 to 50 people in each session.

Bhanumati Master, 79, from Langley, participates in Thursday Bhangra sessions, which go at a slower pace.

She said: “The class helps me to stay active at home, which is really important for my health, and that of my husband who takes a different class.

“It also gives us the reassurance that we're not alone, and we feel better afterwards.”

Thousands more are watching the classes via Apna Virsa’s Whatsapp groups – in real time and post recorded – as well as at their own leisure via its Facebook channel once the live classes have finished.

Project co-ordinator Seema Kamboj said: “Of course we’d prefer to be seeing people face-to-face right now in community halls, schools, and sports centres.

“But sadly this just isn’t possible due to the ongoing crisis, and it’s important we all stay safe."

The popularity of the online classes means they will continue with some form of online presence even when the lockdown is completely over.

Apna Virsa’s online live classes can still be watched back via its Facebook account at Apna Virsa Organisation.

Monday at 10am is yoga-pilates, 7.15pm bhangra; Wednesday at 10am yoga, Thursday at 11am slower bhangra.