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.