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cARTrefu, which means to reside in Welsh, is a four year programme run by Gwanwyn which aims to improve access to quality arts experiences for older people in residential care.

Between 2015 and 2017 Age Cymru recruited 16 professional artists in four different fields: Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Words and Music. These artists each delivered eight 8-week residencies across the length and breadth of Wales, introducing a mix of established art forms and new activities residents may not have had the chance to experience before.

cARTrefu has been a huge success and over the past two years our artists have delivered over 1,000 art workshops in care homes around Wales. Age Cymru was able to offer these workshops entirely for free due to the generous support from the Arts Council of Wales and the Baring Foundation.

In 2017 cARTrefu re-launched with a brand new team of 12 artists, this time working in care homes for 12 weeks. With our second team of cARTrefu artists we want to push the boundaries of what has been attempted in care homes before, and hope to inspire bold and striking new art work from the residents our artists work with.

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 exhibition announcement

We're delighted to announce that we will be exhibiting work by all 12 of our artists at the Courtyard in Hereford from mid November 2018 – January 2019. We’ll be launching our very own custom-built exhibition space, the cARTrefu cube; a cross-art form and immersive platform for our artists to present their provocative artwork, re-examining the idea of ‘home’.

We’d like to invite you to join us for our launch event at the Courtyard, Hereford, on Wednesday 14 November, 5.30 - 7.30pm.

cARTrefu has designed an activity pack for care homes, based on the work our first cARTrefu team of artists developed in care homes. The activity pack feature 20 simple but effective activities for care home staff to run with residents and are free to all care homes in Wales.

The cARTrefu Activity Pack provides creative ideas for care home staff and residents. All the activities are designed so they can be delivered without any expert knowledge or specialist equipment.

The pack features colour-coded cards split into 5 sections

  • Blue: Introduction and instructions
  • Green: Visual Arts
  • Pink: Performing Arts
  • Orange: Words
  • Purple: Music

The blue Introduction and Instruction cards provide advice on

  • how to lead a creative session
  • planning
  • timing
  • the importance of getting involved in the activities yourself
  • creating the right space
  • creating the right atmosphere
Evaluation report

We launched our evalution report in the Senedd on Tuesday 10 October 2017.

The evaluation, undertaken by Dr Katherine Algar Skaife from the Dementia Research Centre Wales at Bangor University, found that cARTrefu increased the well-being of residents, improved their social skills, and even helped some of them regain long lost abilities like using a knife and fork. It also found that the project had a positive impact on the care home staff with many reporting improved attitudes to residents, especially those with dementia. One carer said “It made me realise residents are more capable than one might give them credit for.”

The evaluation also 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 or visit the Gwanwyn website.

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