News | Newyddion

Posted Monday, March 16th, 2020

Dear friends,

The Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is affecting many aspects of life in Wales at the moment. After conducting a detailed risk assessment with our concern for the welfare of our clients and volunteers at the heart of all our operations, we’ve made the very difficult decision to postpone this year’s Gwanwyn Festival.  This will now take place in October 2020. Our event organisers have been informed.

We would like to sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and we hope that you can join us in our creative ageing celebration in October.

Finally, we would urge everyone to keep up to date with the latest advice from Welsh Government which is accessible through our website –agecymru.org.uk/coronavirus

The Gwanwyn Festival Team

Posted Friday, January 31st, 2020

Gwanwyn Clubs are a series of weekly sessions led by experienced artists introducing participants to activities that are maybe a little more adventurous or challenging than they would ordinarily engage with. The aim is to smash the stereotype that activities for older people are sedate, traditional and dull, and to open up new, exciting opportunities, encouraging older people into active, creative and self-perpetuating communities.

Ultimately this approach generates a thriving, diverse and vibrant local community that feeds into the arts scene and includes members from a range of backgrounds, ages, abilities and cultures. By facilitating a variety of creative opportunities, we’ve seen the myriad talents of older people across Wales flourishing in unexpected ways – from aerial aerobics to stand-up comedy.

But what happens when participants love their project so much that they decide to continue it by themselves? This is exactly what happened with Gwanwyn Clubs at the Riverfront Arts Centre in Newport in 2019.

The Mice Girls

The Mice Girls are a group of women who love crafting in all its forms. If you can knit it, weave it, sew it or glue it, they’re interested.

After trying all the sessions that Gwanwyn Clubs offered, from African drumming to soap making, they settled on crafting as their activity of choice. They would meet up to swap ideas and share expertise with one another over a cup of tea.

This relaxed approach meant that membership of the group grew organically. Sessions were not ‘taught’ or sequential, so there was no pressure if a session was missed or if someone couldn’t stay for the duration. As a result the group formed tight friendships that they were reluctant to leave at the end of the project.

Glenys Mouse lives in sheltered accommodation with her husband, where there is very little in the way of activity. She often found herself getting bored and restless, sometimes slipping into a kind of malaise without the motivation to stay active:

Jill Mouse lives a short drive away from Newport, outside of the city, and sometimes will only speak to her husband or her 90 year old neighbours.

Seeing how keen and creative the new friends were, and sensing the potential for some creative collaboration, the Riverfront’s Creative Producer Olivia Harris asked the group to help out by making some props for the 2019 Pantomime, Cinderella. The group set to work creating the prop mice that featured in the live performances.

Those who contributed were offered tickets to the pantomime to see their work in situ, introducing a new audience to the theatre, who may not have considered attending a performance before.

The result was remarkable. The group have named themselves after this project and it has given them a real sense of ownership over it. The Mice Girls were born and the end of the project was certainly not going to mean the end of The Mice Girls!

The group agreed that they didn’t want to stop meeting once the project was over and the Riverfront offered them a regular meeting space, without which the motivation to continue may well have fizzled out.

They plan to have membership badges made and have formed themselves into an inclusive community who help and encourage one another to learn, improve and stay active and engaged

Now they meet every week at the Riverfront, where they build friendships, share gossip, ideas and crafting tips. And you can see the knock on effect this kind of social interaction has in the wider community:

While there’s a real pride in the skills they learn and the objects they create, the group unanimously declares that the friends they’ve made being part of the group are the best thing to have come out of the project. As well as meeting to craft, the girls sometimes go out to eat together, or to see a show. They’ve developed a social group that encourages them into different activities

Another fantastic benefit is that the Mice Girls have begun to frequent the Riverfront Centre on a regular basis. They come in for a coffee or to see a show with friends, supporting the local arts scene. Being in the building means they see the adverts for upcoming performances that they would otherwise miss

The effects of this small investment of time and space has manifold benefits that branch out into the wider community and have a tangible impact on people’s daily lives and wellbeing..

Stand-Up Comedy

Llinos Mai is an experienced comedy writer and performer who approached Gwanwyn in response to the call out for artists. She had been working in care homes and was enthusiastic about the benefits that participating in comedy and performance could bring to older participants.

She ran a series of interactive workshops to help participants find their funny side. It was here that Llinos met Donovan.

Donovan is in his seventies. About to begin his third round of treatment for cancer, he
was looking for something to do that was interesting, but wasn’t physically exhausting.

Donovan wanted to use his personal experiences in his routine, which meant sharing some private thoughts and feelings in a very public space.

Donovan performed his stand-up routine at the Gwanwyn Clubs showcase. He focuses on finding the things that people have in common and bringing them into the light. For example, making fun of the parking nightmares faced by regular visitors to the Royal Gwent Hospital might seem dark, but his audience related to it; they laughed together and, in that moment, they were not alone.

In fact, Llinos and Donovan have hit it off so well that they continue to meet monthly to work on his writing, along with another participant. They practice writing techniques, critique one another’s work and write between sessions so they have something to work on and show when they meet.

Donovan hopes to develop his writing and performance further in the future and looks forward to their writing circle growing.

And in conclusion…

These projects have demonstrated that connecting with one another makes people happy, engaged and motivated. Older people in our communities are at a real risk of missing out on these connections, for the lack of encouragement and opportunity. They become isolated and lose the motivation to carry on.

Donovan’s work will touch the lives of people of any age struggling with chronic diseases, helping them to feel less alone, less vulnerable and like they, too, belong. He now feels part of the creative community and has developed a real sense of purpose around his new found writing and performance skills.

The Mice Girls’ confidence and happiness radiates outwards impacting their families, friends, the wider community and the arts scene in general, as well as the girls themselves. They have formed a strong bond and feel enabled and motivated to take an active part in society; the will to make an effort rather than hiding away and giving in to lethargy and boredom

A small investment of funding, time and space can remove these barriers, bring people together and yield extraordinary results that unfold into the wider community. Simply giving people the space to meet, the time to create and the opportunity to try new things forms new connections and allows people back into the community in an active, participatory way.

We’ve run Gwanwyn Clubs in Aberystwyth, Caernarfon, Swansea and Newport, all with
the aim of creating sustainable, creative groups for the 50 plus community. We have seen the impact of providing opportunities for creativity and growth for older people across Wales and are committed to continuing to deliver these through the Gwanwyn Festival and the cARTrefu arts in care homes project.

Look out for creative opportunities near you this May!

Posted Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Workshop: An introduction to cARTrefu for artists and creatives

Wednesday 12 February 2020 at Taliesin Create, Swansea, starting at 9.30am.

This day-long workshop offers an opportunity to learn more about the cARTrefu arts in care homes approach, share best practice and learn more about how you can get involved.

The workshop is free to attend and you can register your attendance here.

Workshops will be running regularly across Wales, so get in touch to find out about workshops dates near you – cartrefu@agecymru.org.uk.

Posted Friday, December 20th, 2019

The Gwanwyn and cARTrefu Team are taking a little festive break from lunchtime today but we’ll be back in the office from Thursday 2 January 2020. Nadolig llawen pawb!

Posted Thursday, October 17th, 2019

At the beginning of October, Gwanwyn celebrated Age Positive Week with our Age Positive book recommendations and by launching the Gwanwyn Community Grant Scheme.

In case Age Positive Week passed you by, we thought we’d share all of the book recommendations chosen by Age Cymru staff below. So many wonderful books have been written that have inspired our work and promote a positive attitude toward ageing, but these recommendations are our particular favourites!

 

How to Age by Anne Karpf

‘A brilliant, informative guide to ageing and the pitfalls of ageism. A great place to start if you’re interested in positive ageing!’ – Sarah Lord, cARTrefu Project Coordinator

 

The Warmth of the Heart Prevents Your Body From Rusting by Marie de Hennzel

‘This diverse range of voices and experiences creates a really rich tapestry of what ageing can mean for different people. Full of joie de vivre which is the point of it really!’ – Kelly Barr, Arts & Creativity Programme Manager

 

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

‘Gawande brings the human and the humour to his medical perspective on ageing. He considers our well-being and quality of life in our later years. A real treat.’ – Angharad Phillips, Health Initiatives Officer

 

The Long History of Old Age by Pat Thane

‘Recommended by the Baring Foundation, this is a rich, visual guide to the way that ageing has been approached by artists, thinkers and writers throughout history. It is THE book on creative ageing.’ – Kelly Barr, Arts & Creativity Programme Manager

 

This Chair Rocks; a Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite

‘This book is energetic and impassioned. It’s brilliantly written; a series of essays about how we can, and should, change our attitudes to ageing to make the world better for everyone.’ – Kelly Barr, Arts & Creativity Programme Manager

 

And if you missed the Gwanwyn Community Grant Scheme launch, where you can apply for up to £500 to run creative events of older people as part of the Gwanwyn Festival in May, just click here to find out more. Deadline Friday 6 December.

Posted Monday, June 17th, 2019

Mae Clybiau Gwanwyn yn chwilio am artistiaid yn ardal Abertawe i ddarparu gweithdai creadigol sy’n gwthio ffiniau ymdrechion artistig a chynnau/ailgynnau dawn ymhlith yr henoed i geisio gwneud gwaith sy’n ergydiol, mentrus, anfoesgar, dadleuol – nid diogel, dibynadwy, blinedig a phrofedig.

Bydd Clybiau Gwanwyn yn cael eu cynnal bob dydd Iau yn y Tabernacl Treforys, o Orffennaf tan Hydref 2019. Mae hwn yn GYFLE Â THÂL. I gofrestru’ch diddordeb fel artist i’r sesiynau hyn, anfonwch CV at Sam Charles-Ekevall – Cydlynydd Clybiau Gwanwyn Cwmtawe sam_charles-ekevall@scvs.org.uk neu ffoniwch 01792 544000 am ragor o wybodaeth.

Y dyddiad cau yw diwedd y dydd, dydd Llun 24 Mehefin.

 

Gwanwyn Clubs are looking for artists in the Swansea area to deliver creative workshops that push the boundaries of artistic endeavour and re/ignite creative flair amongst older people, to try work that is punchy, risky, rude, controversial – not safe, tried, tired and tested.

Gwanwyn Clubs will run every Thursday at the Tabernacle in Morriston, from July until October 2019. This is a PAID OPPORTUNITY. To register your interest as an artist for these sessions, please send a CV to Sam Charles-Ekevall – Gwanwyn Clubs Coordinator for Cwmtawe to sam_charles-ekevall@scvs.org.uk or give her a ring on 01792 544000 for more information.

Deadline is close of play on Monday 24 June.

Posted Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Posted Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Catch up on all of the cARTrefu news on the links below!

cARTrefu Newsletter May 2019 Welsh

cARTrefu Newsletter May 2019

Posted Monday, May 13th, 2019

GALW AR ARTISTIAID!

Mae Clybiau Gwanwyn yn chwilio am artistiaid yn ardal Casnewydd i ddarparu gweithdai creadigol sy’n gwthio ffiniau ymdrechion artistig a chynnau/ailgynnau dawn ymhlith yr henoed i geisio gwneud gwaith sy’n ergydiol, mentrus, anfoesgar, dadleuol – nid diogel, dibynadwy, blinedig a phrofedig.

Bydd Clybiau Gwanwyn yn cael eu cynnal bob dydd Mercher yng Nglan yr Afon Casnewydd, o Fehefin tan Hydref 2019. Mae hwn yn GYFLE Â THÂL. I gofrestru’ch diddordeb fel artist i’r sesiynau hyn, anfonwch CV at Nia Thomas – Cydlynydd Clybiau Gwanwyn Casnewydd n.thomas@agecymrugwent.org neu ffoniwch 07747 027623 am ragor o wybodaeth.

Y dyddiad cau yw diwedd y dydd, dydd Mercher 22 Mai.

 

Mae Clybiau Gwanwyn yn gydweithrediad rhwng Age Cymru, Age Cymru Gwent ac Ymddiriedolaeth Byw Casnewydd. Ariennir y prosiect gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru.

 

ARTIST CALL OUT!

Gwanwyn Clubs are looking for artists in the Newport area to deliver creative workshops that push the boundaries of artistic endeavour and re/ignite creative flair amongst older people, to try work that is punchy, risky, rude, controversial – not safe, tried, tired and tested.

Gwanwyn Clubs will run every Wednesday at the Riverfront in Newport, from June until October 2019. This is a PAID OPPORTUNITY. To register your interest as an artist for these sessions, please send a CV to Nia Thomas – Gwanwyn Clubs Coordinator for Newport n.thomas@agecymrugwent.org or give her a ring on 07747 027623 for more information.

Deadline is close of play on Wednesday 22 May.

 

Gwanwyn Clubs are a collaboration between Age Cymru, Age Cymru Gwent and Newport Live Trust. The project is funded by Arts Council of Wales.

Posted Thursday, April 25th, 2019

AC Gwanwyn flyer WEST final

AC Gwanwyn flyer SOUTH final

AC Gwanwyn flyer NORTH final

 

Posted Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

 

From Caernafon to Cardiff and from Whitland to Wrexham there will be an explosion of art and creativity amongst the over 50s in Wales during the merry month of May

 

More than 40 groups of older people throughout Wales are set to take part in this year’s Gwanwyn Festival of arts and creativity for older people.

 

The Wales wide festival, organised by Age Cymru, will this year feature activities ranging from challenging dance routines to film screenings, and from community weaving to an exhibition on memory, and everything in between during the month of May.

Now in its thirteenth year, the festival provides opportunities for older people to become involved in any number of artistic and creative activities. It also celebrates the opportunities that older age can bring about; a chance to learn and try new creative experiences, which is reflected in the name Gwanwyn – the Welsh word for springtime, whilst acknowledging lived experience.

Among the highlights of this year’s festival will be an exhibition from the Hearth Gallery at Llandough Hospital in the Vale of Glamorgan based on patients’ first memories. In Caerphilly older women will be making a short film of their dance routines called Girls on Film, while in Cardiff the Gentle/Radical Film club will be screening a film and hosting a discussion based upon the institution of marriage from a BAME perspective.

In Denbighshire, an inspirational artist will help a community to weave itself together by using this most ancient of crafts while in Carmarthenshire there will be aerial yoga as participants will be lifted circus-style into the air to perform their moves before being invited to lay in a colourful yoga hammock for a more calming experience.

Age Cymru’s Arts & Creativity Programmes Manager, Kelly Barr said:  “The Festival is produced by inviting community groups to bid for small grants to help fund their event, so that we can ensure that a wide cross-section of older people, from the four corners of Wales, become involved in organising and participating in the festival.

“It also promotes the benefits of exploring creativity, developing a critical voice and participating fully in the artistic and cultural life of local communities across Wales, all of which is crucial to our well-being.

“Given the calibre of events, I suspect that this year’s festival is going to be one of our most successful to date with each group offering a unique and exciting opportunity to get involved.”

Posted Wednesday, April 25th, 2018

Get ready for an explosion of creativity in older age with the Gwanwyn Festival this May

 

Throughout the month of May expect an explosion of colour, sound and excitement across the whole of Wales as hundreds of people aged 50 plus perform and deliver an extraordinarily wide range of creative activities as part of the annual Gwanwyn Festival.

 

Organised by Age Cymru, the Festival encourages older people to take part in visual arts, drama, storytelling, music, literature, photography dance or film.  And this year the range of activities and performances is quite possibly our most diverse, exciting and innovative since the Festival was established in 2007. In all there are 45 organisations taking part, delivering 100s of events and activities across Wales.

 

There will be literary boat trips around Anglesey with musicians and poets performing sea shanties and poems about our maritime traditions, including smuggling!; stand-up comedy workshops and performances in both Ystradgynlais and Abergavenny; a celebration of pixel stick photography in Llandudno; contemporary music featuring a fiddle and beatbox at Newydd Housing Association schemes across South Wales; and a circus skills workshop in Llanelli to name but a few!

 

Other performances include a collaboration between the Forget Me Not Chorus and the  Welsh writer Patrick Jones in Newport; an exploration of what beauty means to older people by Cardiff BME Community through the support of the Gentle/ Radical Cardiff group; a bus tour through the centre of Cardiff by the Get the Chance group who will be asking people whether ageing is an art form; a session by Pontypridd based harpist Bethan Nia who will use  local stories and myths as a source of inspiration for a new piece of music.

Please head to our Events page for details of events in your area.

Posted Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

A big thank you to everyone who took part in Gwanwyn 2017! We’ve had an amazing festival this year, packed with film making, story telling, puppets, donkeys and much, much more.

There’s so much hard work that goes into Gwanwyn from all our organisers, artists, performers, as well as all the staff in venues up and down Wales, and most of all, our audiences. So thanks everyone!

Gwanwyn isn’t just for spring though. We’re currently working on ways of extending the reach of the festival beyond May, and will have more details of that soon. Watch this space for more information, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be kept updated.

In the meantime, there’s still time to catch work from our cARTrefu project of arts in care homes, Voices from the Edge: Murmurations at Craft in the Bay in Cardiff, which is on until Wednesday 19 July.

Posted Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

May’s edition of our bulletin is all about storytelling.

Inside we’ve got Liz Ashworth on creative writing workshops in Conwy, Valmai Jones on Parama2’s scriptwriting workshops in Cardiff Bay, and Rachel Pedley-Miller on documentary film making and hip hop dance in the Valleys.

We’ve also got a round up on all the latest news from our first ever Arts and Older People Conference and details of how we’ll be making it Gwanwyn all year long with new Gwanwyn Clubs in Aberystwyth and Caernarfon.

Download it here:

Gwanwyn 2017 May bulletin ENGLISH

Gwanwyn 2017 May bulletin CYMRAEG

Posted Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Following on from our Art and Older People Conference in Cardiff a few weeks ago, David Cutler of the Baring Foundation has written a blog celebrating all the incredible work going on in Wales.

Photographer Michal Iwanowski mobilised people via social media to find this war-time grave for one elderly resident as part of cARTrefu’s carehome artist in residence project

‘I have been asking myself this question after participating in the excellent conference at the stunningly beautiful new Royal College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on 6th April. The conference was organised by the Arts Council Wales and Age Cymru with financial support from the Baring Foundation.

‘It culminated with a strong endorsement from Ken Skates, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure. The day showcased arts activity from the length and breadth of the country, but clearly showed that practitioners did not want to rest on their laurels but see how this could be improved.

‘Wales has many treasures when it comes to arts and older people. Central to this is Gwanwyn, the month long creative ageing festival in May. Gwanwyn means ‘Spring’ in Welsh and renews the landscape each year. Run by Age Cymru since 2006 it reaches over 11,000 people in around 500 events. Gwanwyn gives grants to pump prime activity. It continually develops with local Gwanwyn year-round clubs as its latest manifestation.’

Read David’s full blog post here

Posted Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

We’re looking for innovative artists in any art form who have a desire to create bold and original work with older people in residential care.

This project is not about maintaining the norm. We want fresh, new thinkers who will really challenge
and develop this area of work. We welcome work that is punchy, risky, rude, controversial – not safe, tried, tired and tested.

You will need to have experience of facilitating workshops using your art form, however experience of working with older people isn’t essential, as the programme is designed to support practitioners to develop their skills in this area. Those with some experience of working with older people are still encouraged to apply if they are keen to develop their skills further whilst working alongside an expert mentor.

Find out more:

cARTrefu Artist Tender

cARTrefu Artist Tender WELSH

Posted Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

There’s still time to enter the Poetry Competition. As a result of recent IT problems the closing date for the poetry competition is now 30 April

Find out more

Win a free course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre with Disability Arts Cymru and Tŷ Newydd poetry competition as part of a Wales-wide festival for over 50s

Disability Arts Cymru and Tŷ Newydd are offering the opportunity for a writer in Wales to win a free course at Tŷ Newydd as part of the 2017 Gwanwyn Arts Festival for over 50s.

Says Denni Turp, North West Wales Field Officer for Disability Arts Cymru, on behalf of this exciting project: ‘We’re very grateful to the Gwanwyn Arts Festival for this award towards the costs. It has helped both organisations to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity for an unpublished writer over 50 in Wales to attend one of the wonderful writing courses at Tŷ Newydd.’

Posted Tuesday, March 21st, 2017



Age Cymru is seeking three Artist Mentors for the next phase of cARTrefu (2017 – 19).

We’re looking for established and inspiring artists in any art form who have experience of working with older people in a care home environment, as well as care home professionals.

Your role as cARTrefu Artist Mentor will be to provide expert support, inspiration and mentoring to
four freelance artists who will be developing their own artistic practice whilst undertaking five 12 – week residencies in care homes around Wales over a two – year period.

At the end of each residency our Artist Mentors will then work directly with nominated care home staff, offering support and guidance to enable them to run their own creative session with residents at the end of each residency.

The total value of this tender is £12,000. Project expenses such as travel and materials will be paid separately by Age Cymru.

The deadline for bids is April 7th 2017 at 12:00pm.

cARTrefu Mentor Tender

cARTrefu Mentor Tender WELSH

Posted Friday, March 10th, 2017

Win a free course at Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre with Disability Arts Cymru and Tŷ Newydd poetry competition as part of a Wales-wide festival for over 50s

Disability Arts Cymru and Tŷ Newydd are offering the opportunity for a writer in Wales to win a free course at Tŷ Newydd as part of the 2017 Gwanwyn Arts Festival for over 50s.

Says Denni Turp, North West Wales Field Officer for Disability Arts Cymru, on behalf of this exciting project: “We’re very grateful to the Gwanwyn Arts Festival for this award towards the costs. It has helped both organisations to be able to offer this fantastic opportunity for an unpublished writer over 50 in Wales to attend one of the wonderful writing courses at Tŷ Newydd.”

Closing date for entries is 31 March. Find out more.

Posted Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Location: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Castle Grounds, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3ER

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Come and learn about the role of the arts in creating age friendly communities and the contribution of creative activity in supporting older people to live well and enjoy later life

Further details will be issued shortly, but for now, please save the date!

Organised by Age Cymru and Arts Council of Wales with support from the Baring Foundation.

More info

Posted Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Would you like to develop skills in organising creative events that will welcome new members to your group?

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If you’re planning to organise an event as part of Gwanwyn, or any other Get Creative or Voluntary Arts Festival, or simply want to welcome more members to your group, join Voluntary Arts Wales at one of their forthcoming training days.

This free course will provide you with practical guidance about organising events which are inclusive and engaging and is aimed at people in arts and groups who have a responsibility or interest in organising events, public taster sessions, workshops or performances.

For more information visit Voluntary Arts website.

Posted Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

snowdog-castle

Snowdogs Tales in Wales is a unique opportunity for artists to use their creative skills to do something amazing to raise money for Tŷ Hafan to continue to support children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Snowdogs_Tails_in_Wales_logo_Web

Standing at 1.5m tall, these large fibreglass sculptures provide a 3D blank canvas for you to unleash your creativity. Once they’ve been decorated, each Snowdog will be fixed onto a concrete plinth and transported to their temporary home at a point along the trail for all to enjoy.

By making your own individual contribution to Snowdogs: Tails in Wales, your work will be showcased to a mass audience and will enable you to connect with other artists, businesses and the wider Cardiff community.

More information: http://snowdogstailsin.wales/artists/

Posted Friday, December 16th, 2016

Give the Gift of Creativity and Company this Christmas It won’t cost you a penny! The Cheerful Project are looking for over 50’s to take part in our exciting project, Oed y Byd.

‘We can offer opportunities for older people, who find it difficult to get out and about, to do something creative in their own homes. Initially we’d like to arrange a meeting with the participant to chat about the kinds of activities they might like to explore and we can then tailor any future sessions to their needs and any physical limitations they might have.

‘Would you or someone you know benefit from this project?
Would you like to accompany a friend or family member during these creative sessions? We hope they would have a friend, family member or carer with them who could also participate or just be present, to engender the relaxed and informal atmosphere we’re looking for.

‘This project has so much to offer, by referring someone to this project you could make a real difference to someone this Christmas.

‘As well as the individual sessions there will also be a celebration event at the end of the project similar in feel to the Narberth Tea Dance we held in November. Everyone involved will get the opportunity to get together and celebrate all of their achievements.

‘Please contact cheerful@span-arts.org.uk (mailto:cheerful@span-arts.org.uk) or phone on 01834 869323 for further information .

‘Participants may find it difficult to leave their homes due to one or more of these factors:
* Mobility issues
* Dementia
* Loss of hearing/sight,
* Isolation due to having no family members living nearby
* Mental/emotional health issues,
* Physical health issues,
* No access to transport,
* Being a carer for someone else in the home.

‘Please contact cheerful@span-arts.org.uk (mailto:cheerful@span-arts.org.uk) or phone on 01834 869323 for further information.’

Posted Friday, December 16th, 2016

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We’ve got our Christmas jumpers on ready to say a big thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate our tenth birthday this year. We’ll be back on 3rd January 2017.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you all!

Posted Friday, October 28th, 2016


This time around the Gwanwyn Bulletin focuses on the community grant scheme – what it is and how to get on it.

Applications for grants for next year’s festival are currently open. If you’re thinking of applying, we hope you’ll find a bit of inspiration here! We’ve got loads of information to help you with your application.

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In this issue, Mike Stevens talks about how the community grant scheme has helped the Suitcase Theatre, and Linda Jane James and Dewi Morris talk about last May’s Gabions of Curiosity Project. We’ve also got Kelly Barr from the National Dance Company of Wales telling us about the first ever Gwanwyn Dance Night.

Download the November Bulletin in English and Welsh:

November 2016 Bulletin – English

November 2016 Gwanwyn Bulletin – Cymraeg

The deadline for applications to the community grant scheme is Wednesday 7 December 2016.

Posted Friday, October 14th, 2016
Posted Friday, October 7th, 2016

Calling all Over 60’s – Keep Fit and Flexible with Rubicon Dance

Photography by Sian Trenberth

Photography by Sian Trenberth

After a recent successful taster session initiated by Julie Morgan, Rubicon will be running weekly dance sessions for over 60’s. Come along and enjoy gentle exercise to music. All over 60’s Welcome!

Where? Whitchurch Community Centre (Old Church Road)
When? Every Monday from 2.30-3.30pm (term time)
Cost? £3.50 per session

Contact: Sharon Teear Tel: 07868258605 / 02920491477 INFO@RUBICONDANCE.CO.UK / WWW.RUBICONDANCE.CO.UK

Posted Friday, September 30th, 2016

Applications for next year’s Community Grant Scheme are now open. Grants of up to £500 are available to fund events to take place as part of Gwanwyn Festival in May 2017.

_mg_8777Image created by participants in Venue Cymru’s Pixelsticking workshop

Community Grant Scheme projects can include any kind of creative activity. From yarn bombs to watercolours, and photography workshops to stand-up comedy, we are interested in supporting any project that offers an opportunity for older people to participate in the arts.

Projects could promote the health and wellbeing benefits of taking part in creative activity, or challenge stereotypes or preconceived ideas of aging.

_39a0608Suitcase Theatre present Shakespeare 400 during Gwanwyn 2016

We encourage applications from as many different kinds of organisation as possible, from Wales’s biggest venues to community led groups. Come and be part of Wales’s nationwide celebration of art, creativity, and growth in older age!

If you need any advice or assistance with your application please get in touch with us.

Find out more.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 7 December 2016.

Posted Friday, September 16th, 2016
Posted Friday, September 16th, 2016
Posted Friday, September 9th, 2016

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It’s only a few weeks until the start of Age Cymru’s Age Positive Week. If you’re planning any events for older people between September 25 to October 2, then we would love to hear from you.

You can celebrate positive aging in any way you like, as long as it involves older people – coffee mornings, exercise sessions, trip to the theatre, anything. Follow the link to get involved and find out more about Age Positive Week.

Posted Friday, September 9th, 2016
Posted Friday, September 9th, 2016
Posted Friday, July 22nd, 2016

North Wales artist Elizabeth Ashworth has published a new book of poetry inspired by five local older people who all share a lifelong love of art.

Do Not go Gentle – Interviews and Poems on Creativity in Older Age

Do Not go Gentle – Interviews and Poems on Creativity in Older Age

Do Not Go Gentle – Interviews and Poems on Creativity in Older Age is a collection of works about Dymphna Darcey, Lloyd Jones, Beverley Bell-Hughes, John Wynne Morris and Elfyn Jones.

Elizabeth from Llanfairfechan interviewed all five for her book which contains profiles of each artist from their early childhood to older age.

She also wrote pieces of poetry based on their life stories in different forms including free verse and haiku.

Elizabeth Ashworth

Elizabeth Ashworth

‘For the project I interviewed a dancer, writer, two painters and a potter who are practising their individual disciplines more productively than ever”, says Elizabeth Ashworth.

‘They have all led interesting and incredibly varied lives, share this lifelong love of art and all continue to dance, write, paint and throw pots working well into their sixties and seventies.

‘And like the Dylan Thomas poem which inspired the title of the book, they have no intention at all of slowing down in their older age and going gently ‘into that good night’.’

The Gwanwyn arts festival for over 50s, run by Age Cymru, commissioned Elizabeth to produce the book as part of its tenth anniversary celebrations.

‘Gwanwyn is a celebration of creativity and arts among older people’, says Emma Robinson, who coordinates the Gwanwyn festival.

‘Every year, we run a Wales-wide arts festival for over 50s and we support older artists working in Wales by commissioning works of art from them.

‘This year, with Gwanwyn being 10 years old, we wanted to mark the occasion by offering the opportunity for Welsh artists to create new works of art to celebrate this important milestone.

‘I’m absolutely overjoyed with what Elizabeth has produced and it has been a joy to work with such a talented individual on this thought-provoking project.’

Elizabeth Ashworth will be distributing copies of Do Not Go Gentle – Interviews and Poems on Creativity in Older Age to older people’s groups, libraries and arts centres.

Copies are also going to Age Cymru Gwynedd a Môn Ageing Well centres and writing clubs across north Wales.

Posted Friday, June 3rd, 2016

Gwanwyn Dance Night at Dance House May 21

As we wrap up this year’s Gwanwyn we would like to take a moment to say a monumental thank you to everyone who has helped make this year’s festival the biggest and best ever.

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Big thanks to all the artists, musicians, dancers, poets, photographers, writers, actors, sculptors, knitters, free-runners, story-tellers, jugglers, stilt-walkers, drummers, saxophonists, ukelele-fiends, ravers, walkers, silk painters, gangster grandparents, puppeteers, quilters, paint-pals, yoga instructors, book binders, yarn-bombers (shhh!), soloists, ensembles, usherettes and projectionists. Thanks everyone! We hope you had a great experience.

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Another big thank you to our fabulous army of organizers and volunteers, and to all the amazing people who work with us in venues, who throw open their theatres, galleries, arts centres, church halls and care homes to us each May. For everything you’ve done to make this the most magical Gwawnyn Festival so far – thanks!

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Most of all we would like to thank our audiences. We really hope you enjoyed the show. Thanks for coming and we hope we’ll see you all again next year.

There’s still a few projects ongoing – Sharing Stories continues at Hay on Wye Library, Gangster Grandparents has a final couple of sessions to run at Breaking Barriers, and Re-Live Theatre’s play Belonging ends its triumphant national tour with performances at Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon on 8 June.

We’ll be back soon with more news of our series of artist commissions. Meanwhile, thanks again and have an amazing summer!

Posted Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

We’re entering the last week of May and we’ve had an amazing journey so far, but our 10th birthday party is far from over.

Llion Williams and Clêr Stephens in Re-Live Theatre's Belonging

Llion Williams and Clêr Stephens in Re-Live Theatre’s Belonging

Karin Diamond’s play Belonging continues its triumphant national tour with performances in Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllhelli (May 24), Pontio, Bangor (May 26-27), Neuadd Ucheldre, Holyhead (May 31), Galeri, Caernarfon (Jun 2) and Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon (Jun 8).

Karin Diamond and Francine Morgan in Re-Live Theatre's Belonging

Karin Diamond and Francine Morgan in Re-Live Theatre’s Belonging

The play is funny and moving and tells the story of how two very different families survive a diagnosis of dementia. You can see the trailer for Re-Live Theatre’s Belonging here and watch an excerpt from the play here.

Critics are calling it ‘beautiful, both in the delicacy with which it tackles the subject and the strength of the performances‘ and ‘a damned good piece of theatre‘.

Wednesday May 25 sees Gwanwyn come to Theatr Felinfach in Ceredigion where Merched Mentrus (Venturous Women) will take to the road for one day only, entertaining audiences in unexpected locations. Presented by a group of older women, the short play is an affirmation that venturing is exciting at any age.

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Lowri Morgan

Join the final performance of the day at Theatr Felinfach, Lampeter. Hwyl a Hamdden, a social and cultural group for over 50s will be welcoming special guest and famous adventurer, Lowri Morgan, for a special Gwanwyn 10th birthday celebration.

The day is FREE but please book your place as space is limited, please call Theatr Felinfach Box Office on 01570 470 697 or visitwww.theatrfelinfach.cymru or go to Facebook.com/TheatrFelinfach or Twitter @Theatrfelinfach.

Joao Bento workshop exhibition

Walking the Dog at Newport Riverfront

Are you into photography workshops or exhibitions? From Gangster Grandparents to Cyanotypes, Gwanwyn puts everyone in the picture. Please take a look at our Gwanwyn events page for full listings of all the concerts, exhibitions and workshops still to come.

Posted Monday, May 23rd, 2016
Posted Friday, May 13th, 2016
Gwanwyn Dance night at Dance House May 21

Gwanwyn Dance night at Dance House May 21

Gwanwyn’s 10th birthday celebrations continue this week with Aging Creatively at Theatr Brycheiniog on Tuesday May 17. There will be craft workshops and a visit from Men’s Sheds Cymru, plus a special screening of The Lady in the Van featuring an acclaimed performance from Maggie Smith.

May 19 – 20 finds Arts Care Gofal Celf at the Torch Theatre for a day of workshops, taster sessions and a chance to catch Re-Live Theatre’s brilliant new play Belonging.

Llion Williams and Clêr Stephens in Belonging

Llion Williams and Clêr Stephens in Re-Live Theatre’s Belonging

Belonging follows the fortunes of two families living with dementia and has opened to rave reviews in Cardiff last week. It will also be at the Lyric Theatre Carmarthen (May 17), before continuing its national tour. Critics are calling it ‘beautiful, both in the delicacy with which it tackles the subject and the strength of the performances‘ and ‘a damned good piece of theatre‘.

Gwanwyn Dance Night at Dance House May 21

Gwanwyn Dance Night at Dance House May 21

Saturday sees one of the events we’re most proud of – our first ever Gwanwyn Dance Night at Dance House in Cardiff. We’ve been working with older people’s dance groups for several years now and this special performance brings together long term Gwanwyn collaborators Rubicon Dance, Striking Attitudes and TAN Dance with the National Dance Company of Wales for an evening celebrating the passion and variety of older peoples’ dance in Wales.

Only Men Aloud

Only Men Aloud

We’re delighted to have Only Men Aloud perform a special matinee at the Coliseum in Aberdare on May 22. They’ll be bringing their powerful harmonies to a unique mix of styles, from pop to classical. Expect the unexpected: anything from show tunes to Welsh hymns! We spoke to Craig from Only Men Aloud last week and you can read his interview here (link).

Mountain Dulcimers at the Squirrels Nest

Mountain Dulcimers at the Squirrels Nest

Finally, there’s a very different kind of musical celebration going on at Squirrels Nest Men’s Shed in Bridgend on May 20. Following on from their Epic Award winning Pimp My Uke project they will be holding an open day to show off their latest enthusiasm, the Appalachian mountain dulcimer. There will be plenty of music, plus food and refreshments and the chance to find out how get involved.

Whether you’re into Shakespeare or crochet, bookbinding or African drumming, Gwanwyn offers something for everyone. Please take a look at our Gwanwyn events page for full listings of all the concerts, exhibitions and workshops still to come.

Posted Friday, May 13th, 2016

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Brit Award winners Only Men Aloud are joining Gwanwyn this year with a special matinee performance at Aberdare Coliseum on May 22. We caught up with the group’s baritone, Craig Yates, to find out his thoughts on aging creatively.

G: Why is it important to Only Men Aloud to be involved with Gwanwyn Festival?
CY: We are delighted to be performing at this year’s Gwanwyn Festival to help celebrate the 10th anniversary of the festival. Bringing live music and a live show into the heart of people’s communities is very important to us. We often hear that some people don’t like travelling far, and don’t like coming to see us in the evening, so our 5pm start should be perfect. The Festival does incredible things in celebrating the creativity in older age, and we are proud to have been asked to be part of it.

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G: What do you have planned for us?
CY: We have a typical Only Men Aloud concert planned for you. If you have not seen us before, this means a wide mix of styles and genres, all sung with our unique harmonies and strong voices. We will have hopefully something for everyone from Welsh hymns to classical music, to music theatre to popular music.

G: Gwanwyn is about celebrating creativity in older age. What do you think is the best way to stay creative as you get older?
CY: I think the best way to stay creative as you get older, is to keep doing what you love and enjoy, and keep giving yourself new experiences. Music is always a huge part of everyone’s life, and can be a great way to keep being creative. Come along and see us in Aberdare, and you’ll be singing along, tapping your feet, and even dancing in the aisles!

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G: We’re celebrating our tenth birthday this year, what are your ambitions for Only Men Aloud for the next ten years?
CY: We’d love to keep doing what we are doing, and keep getting better and better. We always have great ambitions of touring around the world, and showing the world the music Wales has to offer – so we hope we can do just that. As long as we are happy, healthy, and still enjoying what we are doing – that will do for me.

Only Men Aloud will be at the Coliseum Theatre Aberdare on May 22.

Posted Thursday, May 5th, 2016

2016 May Bulletin FINAL

Gwanwyn Festival’s May bulletin is packed with news and interviews from our 10th birthday celebrations.

2016 May Bulletin Cymraeg

2016 May Bulletin English

Inside:

– Gwanwyn veteran Dee Rivas tells us the secrets of what makes a great Gwanwyn event

– Rubicon Dance’s Kathryn Williams discusses our first ever Gwanwyn Dance Night on May 21 at Dance House in Cardiff

Emma van Woerkom shares details of her Sharing Stories project into literature and dementia taking place at Hay On Wye library

– We talk to Robert Visintainer of Men’s Sheds Cymru about winning a Voluntary Arts Epic Award for their Pimp My Uke project

– Go behind the scenes of Gwanwyn with Festival Coordinator Emma Robinson.

If there’s anything you would like to see us cover next time please contact us: gwanwyn@agecymru.co.uk / 029 2043 1555