cARTrefu, which means to reside in Welsh, is a four year programme run by Age Cymru which aims to improve access to quality arts experiences for older people in residential care.
cARTrefu is Age Cymru’s flagship arts in care homes project that has been running since 2015. The aim of the project is to improve the provision of creative activity in care homes and develop artist’s skills in running these sessions.
cARTrefu has now grown to become the largest project of its kind in Europe. We have been invited to talk about the project at conferences in Copenhagen, Sydney, Edinburgh, Belfast, Barcelona and London. Wales truly is leading the way when it comes to the impact of arts on well-being, particularly for those living with dementia and we’re proud that cARTrefu is a significant part of Wales’ ambitions in this field.
We hope that cARTrefu will foster a greater appreciation of the arts among care home staff as they work with our artists. We want care home staff to gain more confidence and acquire new skills, sharing and practicing them in their daily work with residents.
cARTrefu has been a huge success and over the four years will have delivered 1840 two-hour art workshops in over 25% of the care homes across Wales. Age Cymru has been able to offer these workshops entirely for free due to the generous support from the Arts Council of Wales and the Baring Foundation.
Following the first phase of cARTrefu a full evaluation was conducted by the Dementia Service Development Centre Wales at Bangor University, to explore the impact of the art residencies on all involved. The findings were as follows:
- A statistically significant improvement in wellbeing scores after attending cARTrefu sessions.
- Residents rated 86% of sessions as highly enjoyable (4 or 5 on a 5 point scale).
- Wider impact such as socialising more and regaining skills such as using a knife and fork.
- A statistically significant improvement in attitudes towards residents, especially those living with dementia.
- A statistically significant increase in confidence to lead a creative arts session in the home.
- Statistically more likely to seek out participatory or spectator cultural experiences (i.e. arts classes, visiting gallery/theatre) outside of work.
Thanks to further funding cARTrefu will continue for another two years. The third phase of cARTrefu will begin in September 2019, but will differ from the two previous phases.
We will run regular half day workshops across Wales to introduce care home staff to cARTrefu, giving practical advice and tips on how to run creative activities in care homes, building staff confidence, and using existing resources.
Our artists will also work with care home staff over four weeks to develop yearlong cARTrefu activity plans, that are accessible and easy to deliver. The workshops and activity plans are both free to care homes.
If you think your care home would benefit from the cARTrefu workshops, and / or having one of our artists work with you on an activity plan, then please complete the application form
The evaluation found that the project developed a group of artists who are now better equipped to work with vulnerable older people in care settings and that the lives of the residents are more like to be reflected in future work undertaken by the artists. You can download a copy of the evaluation report below.
If you'd like more information about our cARTrefu project, please contact us