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All case studies
5 February 2018

cARTrefu, Age Cymru

2 grants £259,377
A four-year programme to introduce high quality arts into care homes in Wales.

About the project

Around 450,000 older people live in care homes in the UK. Older people in care are likely to be particularly disadvantaged in terms of access to arts and cultural activities, but participation in the arts can have a huge impact on wellbeing at what can be a difficult time of life. We gave Age Cymru a grant in 2015 for cARTrefu, a programme of artists’ residencies in care homes in Wales, jointly funded with the Arts Council of Wales. The first phase delivered nearly 2,000 hours of multi-form arts provision to over 1,500 residents in 122 care homes. A second phase is now underway.

Reg Noyes

Age Cymru

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.

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-week residencies across Wales, introducing a mix of established art forms and new activities residents may not have had the chance to experience before.

In 2017, cARTrefu started its second phase. We have 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 also want care home staff to gain more confidence and acquire new skills, sharing and practising them in their daily work with residents, and hopefully to continue after the residencies have finished.

An evaluation by Bangor University published in 2017 confirmed that participating in the cARTrefu programme has had a significant impact on older people’s well-being. It has also changed staff attitudes towards residents, especially those with dementia, and gave them more confidence in leading creative activities themselves.

Participant feedback

“I am blossoming like these flowers.”

Care home resident

“His face was grey when he came in and pink and glowing by the end. And his eyes were twinkling.”


“I’ve learnt how to share my enjoyment with others and how to deliver a session.”

Member of care home staff

“I have learnt new ways of interacting with residents.”

Member of care home staff

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