News | Newyddion

Posted Friday, April 8th, 2022

The Gwanwyn Festival, organised by Age Cymru, celebrates creativity in older age every May. This year, the festival has a particular theme of ‘connection’. 

To help celebrate Gwanwyn, we commissioned the poet Jonathan Edwards to create two new resources that encourage people to try their hand at writing poetry.

You can pick one or both of the writing prompts below, and have a go at writing your own poem.

Poetry writing prompt #1: The Everyday, Togetherness, and Letter Poems

One great way into writing poems is to write about things which happen every day. Things as simple as cooking or washing up, pursuing a hobby, watching TV, can result in some great poems. Writing about everyday things which we share with others – a phone call, a conversation, a walk – can result in poems which are celebrations of togetherness and the people who matter to us.

Download the first worksheet here.  

Watch a video of Jonathan introducing the first prompt here

Poetry writing prompt #2: A Day at the Seaside

Another thing that can generate really interesting poems is writing about visits to the seaside. The seaside is such a rich place, full of interesting sounds, sights, feelings and memories, that it can make for great poems. Whether it is the sound of seagulls, the feeling of sand between the toes, or the taste of ice cream, there is so much to write about when thinking about the seaside.

Download the second worksheet here.  

Watch a video of Jonathan introducing the second prompt here

Sharing your poem

Once you have written your poem, we would love to see it. You can email a copy or an audio file of you reading your poem to Alternatively, you can post a copy to:

Ground Floor
Mariners House
Trident Court
East Moors Road
Cardiff CF24 5TD

These activities were created by Jonathan Edwards, for the Unearthing Creativity project. Unearthing Creativity is a collaboration between Marion Cheung, Naz Syed, Creative Lives and Age Cymru, and is funded by the Arts Council of Wales.

Posted Tuesday, March 15th, 2022

Join #CreativeNetwork – Local Arts Wales

Creative Lives hosts an online network to connect anyone working in, or with an interest in, local arts development in Wales.

The aims of the network are:

to offer opportunities to share and celebrate the work that takes place across Wales;
to link local arts development with national policy;
to provide opportunities for collaboration;
and to provide mutual support to local arts development.
The meetings are usually at 9:30am on Thursdays via Zoom.

Next meeting
31 March 2022 – Creativity and connection in older age
This event will showcase some recent artistic activity exploring representations of older age and look ahead to Gwanwyn in May. It will also introduce ‘Men Who Sing’, a documentary about a male voice choir from Flintshire who travel to Northern Ireland to compete after 20 years, and we’ll hear about the opportunity to organise community screenings of this wonderful film, which shows the many benefits of communal singing in older age.

Register on Eventbrite here.

Posted Thursday, March 10th, 2022

The idea for this collection of writing comes from the Gwanwyn Festival of Arts and Creativity for older people in Wales which is organised each year by Age Cymru. It seeks to capture and celebrate the experience of older people who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

It encompasses the individual stories of four people that connected with Age Cymru during the Covid-19 pandemic for a ‘Check in and Chat’ and of new writing by older people who used lockdown to be creative.

You can see a digital version of the publication below.

Posted Friday, February 25th, 2022

Pilot scheme to start in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan

Age Cymru is seeking volunteers who are passionate about our cultural sites such as museums, public art works, and parks, to join our newly formed Culture Club and support isolated older people to visit and enjoy such sites.

The main aims behind Culture Club, funded by the Welsh Government, are to build the confidence of isolated older people, help them to make new friends, and encourage them to get out and about to safely enjoy our many cultural sites, with the help of a friendly volunteer.

The volunteers may travel with the older people, or they may meet them at the site, whichever suits both parties best. The volunteers, who will receive training from the Charity, will be matched with between one and four older people for monthly meet-ups.

Culture Club will initially run a pilot project in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan during springtime before extending the project into other parts of Wales later in the year.

Age Cymru’s Kelly Barr, who will oversee the project, says “We know that lots of older people are living lonely and isolated lives and although many of them are interested in our cultural sites, they do not have the confidence to visit them on their own.

“This lack of confidence has, for many, been made worse by the pandemic with some older people shielding and not visiting their usual places of socialisation.  We hope that Culture Club can be the kick start they need to get back out into their communities and start enjoying many of our cultural sites once more.”

If you feel like you may benefit from either joining, or volunteering, with Culture Club please email or call 029 2043 1555.


Posted Monday, February 15th, 2021

Thanks to the Connect and Flourish grant supported by Arts Council of Wales, Leeway Productions, Menter Iaith RCT and Age Cymru are developing a fresh partnership and creating new opportunities for freelancers to embed their working practice in the Rhondda Valley.

Although this is location specific, we are very open to finding the correct people who will empathise with the values of this project and help shape what this fabulous community wants.

Diolch i grant Cysylltu a Ffynnu a gefnogir gan Gyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, mae Cynyrchiadau Leeway, Menter Iaith RhCT ac Age Cymru yn datblygu partneriaeth newydd ac yn creu cyfleoedd newydd i weithwyr llawrydd i ymgorffori eu harferion gwaith yng Nghwm Rhondda.


Er bod hyn yn benodol i leoliad, rydym yn agored iawn i ddod o hyd i’r bobl gywir a fydd yn cydymdeimlo â gwerthoedd y prosiect hwn ac yn helpu i lunio’r hyn y mae’r gymuned hyfryd hon ei eisiau.


Porth y Cwtsh – Cymraeg

Porth y Cwtsh – English

Posted Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

A friendly Zoom get-together for the over 50’s where you can learn more about creative writing and story-telling and develop your existing skills. You can dip into one of the sessions, or join us throughout the month to develop your writing.

Cyfarfod Zoom cyfeillgar i bobl dros 50 oed lle y gallwch ddysgu mwy am ysgrifennu creadigol ac adrodd straeon a datblygu’ch sgiliau presennol. Gallwch fynychu un o’r sesiynau, neu ymuno â ni drwy gydol y mis i ddatblygu’ch sgiliau ysgrifennu.


Age Cymru is gathering the reflections of older people during the Covid19 lockdown and hope that you will be inspired to share your experiences, in Welsh or English, after attending the workshops.

Mae Age Cymru yn casglu myfyrdodau pobl hŷn yn ystod cyfnod clo Covid19 ac yn gobeithio y byddwch wedi’ch ysbrydoli i rannu’ch profiadau, yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg, ar ôl mynychu’r gweithdai.


All workshops sessions will be 1 – 1.5 hours. Use the Eventbrite links to book onto the workshops and you’ll be sent the Zoom link 24 hours before.

Bydd yr holl sesiynau gweithdy’n para 1 – 1.5 awr. Defnyddiwch y dolenni Eventbrite i neilltuo lle yn y gweithdai a bydd y ddolen Zoom yn cael ei hanfon atoch 24 awr o flaen llaw.


If you have any questions, please call 02920 431555 or email

Os oes gennych unrhyw gwestiynau, ffoniwch 02920 431555 neu anfonwch neges e-bost at



Sarah Reed has created a range of innovative communication products, projects and workshops, based on her award-winning REAL Communication Framework and Many Happy Returns conversation trigger cards, since 2005. Recently, for Age Cymru, she has been gathering and celebrating shared life stories of older people across Wales who have become isolated by age and circumstances.
This interactive workshop will boost your understanding, confidence and ways of telling your stories, supported by a range of strategies, tips and tools.

Dydd Mawrth

Mae Sarah Reed wedi creu ystod o gynhyrchion cyfathrebu, prosiectau a gweithdai arloesol, wedi’u seilio ar ei Fframwaith Cyfathrebu REAL a’i chardiau annog sgwrs ‘Many Happy Returns’ arobryn, ers 2005. Yn ddiweddar, ar gyfer Age Cymru, mae hi wedi bod yn casglu a dathlu straeon bywyd a rannwyd gan bobl hŷn ledled Cymru sydd wedi cael eu hynysu oherwydd oedran ac amgylchiadau.
Bydd y gweithdy rhyngweithiol hwn yn cynyddu eich dealltwriaeth, eich hyder a’ch ffyrdd o adrodd eich straeon, gyda chymorth amrywiaeth o strategaethau, awgrymiadau ac adnoddau.

Tuesday 2 February 2pm / Dydd Mawrth 2 Chwefror 2pm

Tuesday 9 February 2pm / Dydd Mawrth 9 Chwefror 2pm

Tuesday 16 February 2pm / Dydd Mawrth 16 Chwefror 2pm

Tuesday 23 February 2pm / Dydd Mawrth 23 Chwefror 2pm



Join Deb Winter, a professional storyteller & writer. Deb is known for her warm & relaxed Creative Writing & Storytelling Workshops and has travelled across Wales telling stories from Anglesey to Swansea, in roundhouses, cafes, theatres & campsites. During lockdown she is telling stories & listening to older people’s stories by phone & zoom. Deb has had a varied career from drystone waller, debt counsellor and Samaritan through to performing as the Snow Queen to entertain children.

Dydd Gwener

Ymunwch â’r storïwr a’r awdur proffesiynol, Deb Winter. Mae Deb yn adnabyddus am ei Gweithdai Ysgrifennu Creadigol ac Adrodd Straeon gwresog a hamddenol ac mae hi wedi teithio ledled Cymru yn adrodd straeon o Ynys Môn i Abertawe, mewn tai crwn, caffis, theatrau a safleoedd gwersylla. Yn ystod y cyfnod clo, mae hi’n adrodd straeon a gwrando ar straeon pobl hŷn dros y ffôn a thrwy Zoom. Mae gyrfa Deb wedi amrywio o fod yn wneuthurwr waliau sych, cwnselwr dyledion a Samariad i berfformio fel Brenhines yr Eira i ddifyrru plant

Friday 5 February 2pm / Dydd Gwener 5 Chwefror 2pm

Friday 12 February 11am / Dydd Gwener 12 Chwefror 11am

Friday 19 February 2pm / Dydd Gwener 19 Chwefror 2pm

Friday 26 February 11am / Dydd Gwener 26 Chwefror 11am




Posted Tuesday, November 10th, 2020

During the initial Covid19 lockdown, Age Cymru made more than 20,000 check-in calls to older people and heard a wealth of amazing life stories. At this historic moment, we believe it’s vitally important to capture and celebrate the experiences of older people, who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic; how their lives have shaped them, and how they have found ways to cope with the isolation of lockdown.

We understand the benefits of taking part in creative activity, and whilst access to many arts and social clubs is still limited, we want to hear your stories. Whether you write yourself, or whether your friends or family help you to capture your experiences, we’d love to hear your story:

  • Responses can be from anyone over 50 in Wales, in either Welsh or English, or could be written by family or friends on behalf of someone over 50
  • Responses can be stories, prose or poetry
  • You can use our prompt questions to get you started or just freestyle!
  • Please keep an eye on for further resources and examples


Headline question: How have your life experiences to this point affected you during the initial Covid19 lockdown starting in March 2020?



Have you ever lived through a time where you had to make sacrifices for the ‘greater good’?

Have you ever lived through a time where you have been isolated from loved ones?

What did a typical day lock like for you before the pandemic, and then during the lockdown?

During the Covid19 lockdown, who/what did you miss the most and why?

What impact has the Covid19 lockdown had on you? Your physical and mental health? Your relationships? Your hobbies?

How has the Covid19 lockdown changed the way you feel about the future?


To get involved, you can post or email your stories before the 28 February 2021 to the details below. Please include your contact details and if you’d like to, please include a photo. Please note that we won’t be able to return photos.

Kelly Barr, Arts & Creativity Programme Manager

Mariners House,

Trident Court,

East Moors Road,


CF24 5TD

Yn ystod cyfnod clo cychwynnol Covid 19, gwnaeth Age Cymru dros 20,000 o alwadau gofal i bobl hŷn a chlywed ystod o straeon bywyd anhygoel. Ar y foment hanesyddol hon, credwn ei bod yn allweddol bwysig dal a dathlu profiadau pobl hŷn, sydd wedi cael eu heffeithio’n anghymesur gan y pandemig; sut mae eu bywydau wedi eu siapio, a sut maent wedi dod o hyd i ffyrdd o ymdopi ag ynysiad y cyfnod clo.

Rydym yn deall manteision cymryd rhan mewn gweithgaredd creadigol, a tra bod mynediad at nifer o glybiau celfyddydol a chymdeithasol yn parhau i fod yn gyfyngedig, roeddem yn awyddus i glywed eich straeon. P’un a ydych yn ysgrifennu eich hun, neu’n cael ffrindiau neu deulu i’ch helpu i ddal eich profiadau, byddem wrth ein bodd yn clywed eich stori:

  • Gall ymatebion ddod gan unrhyw un dros 50 yng Nghymru, yn Gymraeg neu Saesneg, neu gallent gael eu hysgrifennu gan deulu neu ffrindiau ar ran rhywun dros 50
  • Gall ymatebion fod yn straeon, rhyddiaith neu farddoniaeth
  • Gallwch ddefnyddio ein cwestiynau procio i’ch rhoi ar ben ffordd neu adrodd yn rhydd!
  • Cadwch lygad ar am ragor o adnoddau ac enghreifftiau.


Prif gwestiwn: Sut mae eich profiadau bywyd hyd yma wedi effeithio arnoch yn ystod cyfnod clo cychwynnol Covid19 a ddechreuodd fis Mawrth 2020?


Cwestiynau procio:

Ydych chi erioed wedi byw drwy gyfnod pan oedd yn rhaid i chi aberthu er budd pawb?

Ydych chi erioed wedi byw drwy gyfnod pan rydych wedi cael eich ynysu o’ch anwyliaid?

Beth oedd cynnwys diwrnod arferol i chi cyn y pandemig, ac yna’n ystod y cyfnod clo?

Yn ystod y cyfnod clo Covid 19, pwy/beth oeddech chi’n ei golli fwyaf a pham?

Pa effaith mae’r cyfnod clo Covid19 wedi’i gael arnoch chi? Eich iechyd corfforol a meddyliol? Eich perthnasau? Eich diddordebau?

Sut mae’r cyfnod clo Covid19 wedi newid y ffordd rydych yn teimlo am y dyfodol?


I gymryd rhan, gallwch bostio neu e-bostio eich straeon cyn 28 Chwefror 2021 at y manylion isod. Cofiwch gynnwys eich manylion cyswllt ac os hoffech wneud, anfonwch lun. Nodwch na fyddwn yn gallu dychwelyd lluniau.

Kelly Barr, Rheolwr Rhaglen Celfyddydau a Chreadigrwydd

Tŷ Mariners,

Llys Trident,

Heol East Moors,


CF24 5TD

Posted Wednesday, November 4th, 2020


Age Cymru and Gwanwyn are looking for a visual artist to create a piece of artwork that responds to a piece of written work ‘the agenda’ around the representation of older people in the media. The finished piece will be printed alongside the agenda which will be shared with you at the contract stage, and the final piece (agenda and artwork) will be distributed publicly. The whole piece, including the agenda, will be printed on A4 or A3.

There is a fee of £750 available, to include materials. Age Cymru will cover the costs of digitally photographing the final piece if necessary and the printing of the agenda and artwork.

To register your interest, please send a CV or biography to tell us about yourself and your work and photos of examples of previous work, to by midday on Friday 13 November.

The successful artist will be chosen by a panel of project stakeholders on or before Friday 20 November. The finished piece will need to be presented to Age Cymru by Monday 7 December.


Mynegiad o Ddiddordeb ar gyfer Comisiwn: Mae Age Cymru a Gwanwyn yn chwilio am artist gweledol i greu gwaith celf sy’n ymateb i ddarn o waith ysgrifenedig ‘yr agenda’ ar sail y gynrychiolaeth o bobl hŷn yn y cyfryngau. Bydd y darn gorffenedig yn cael ei argraffu gyfochr â’r agenda, fydd yn cael ei rannu gyda chi yn ystod y cyfnod contract, a’r darn terfynol (agenda a gwaith celf) fydd yn cael ei ddosbarthu’n gyhoeddus. Bydd y gwaith cyfan, gan gynnwys yr agenda, yn cael ei argraffu ar A4 neu A3.

Mae ffi o £750 ar gael, gan gynnwys deunyddiau. Bydd Age Cymru’n talu costau tynnu lluniau digidol ar gyfer y darn terfynol, argraffu’r agenda a’r gwaith celf os oes angen.

I gofrestru eich diddordeb, anfonwch CV neu fywgraffiad yn rhoi eich cefndir chi a’ch gwaith, a lluniau o waith blaenorol at erbyn hanner dydd ar ddydd Gwener 13 Tachwedd.

Bydd yr artist llwyddiannus yn cael ei (d)dewis gan banel o randdeiliaid prosiect ar ddydd Gwener 20 Tachwedd, neu cyn hynny. Bydd angen cyflwyno’r darn gorffenedig i Age Cymru erbyn dydd Llun 7 Rhagfyr.

Funders / Cyllidwyr: Arts Council of Wales / Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru

Posted Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

A message from our friends at Rubicon:

Rubicon’s Gwanwyn Celebration – October 2020


Our original spring programme for Gwanwyn Festival had to be postponed but we are delighted to be bringing you our first ever, online Autumn edition!

Join us on Monday 26th October from 10:00am until 2:30pm for a day of dance. With a range of artists and activities we have a packed programme designed specifically for our over 50’s. Places are limited.


Please email to reserve your space.



Dathliad Gwanwyn Rubicon – Hydref 2020


Bu’n rhaid i’n rhaglen gwanwyn gwreiddiol i Ŵyl Gwanwyn gael ei gohirio ond rydyn ni’n falch iawn i gyflwyno i chi ein cynnig Hydref ar-lein cyntaf erioed!

Ymunwch â ni ar Ddydd Llun 26 Hydref o 10:00am hyd at 2:30pm am ddiwrnod o ddawns. Gydag ystod o artistiaid a gweithgareddau mae ein rhaglen lawn dop wedi cael ei dylunio yn arbennig ar gyfer pobl dros 50 oed. Mae’r nifer o leoedd yn gyfyngedig.


Anfonwch e-bost at i gadw eich lle.

Posted Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

A message from our friends at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff:


What does living in, or being from Cardiff mean to you? 


We’re delighted to be working with Age Cymru’s Gwyl Gwanwyn Festival  for older people this autumn. Through the Sherman 5 Love Letters to Cardiff project we are inviting older people to exchange their love letters to our city with one another. 

If you’re aged 50+ we would love for you to get involved whether on your own, or with your parents or older family members to write letters about your memories and experiences that represent your love of the city, our home, Cardiff.

Participants will receive a letter writing set along with a collection of love letters to Cardiff to give you some inspiration. In exchange for your letter you will receive a letter penned by another participant and your letter will be shared too. 


A selection of letters will also be sent to older people who may be feeling isolated in the current situation. 


Anyone over 50 who lives in or is from Cardiff can take part, and we have planned in accessibility for  participants. We also welcome working with organisations supporting older people who’d like to participate.

For more information about Love Letters to Cardiff please email: or call 07545 210357

Posted Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Meeting notes from Participatory Arts, Beyond the Lockdown – Older People Zoom meeting on Thursday 2 July. Thank you, diolch yn fawr to all who contributed and attended.


Kelly Barr – Arts & Creativity Programme Manager – Age Cymru

Age Cymru are the largest charity working with and for older people in Wales. Kelly heads up the annual Gwanwyn Festival which celebrates creative ageing, and cARTrefu, the largest arts in care homes project in Europe.


Emily Laurens – Community Art Co-ordintaor Oriel Myrddin / Freelance Artist

Hi, I’m Emily Laurens, I live in Carmarthenshire and have been community art coordinator at Oriel Myrddin Gallery for 4 years. I have been working in participatory and community art since 1998 in London, the USA, Brighton, Nottingham and Wales. I am co-director of Feral Theatre, I co-founded Lost Species Day and I work as a freelance artist. I am currently working on a Located Residency with National Theatre Wales exploring the links between Welsh wool, the transatlantic slave trade and modern day slavery. As a participatory and community artist in Wales I have worked with National Theatre Wales delivering one of their Digital Commissions (Dream a little dream for me) in May 2020; for Span Arts where I initiated their work singing in care homes; I have led Age Cymru Gwanwyn projects for Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Span Arts and in Morriston, Swansea; I worked on ACW’s Lead Creative Schools and have completed projects for many other local organisations including the Welsh Wildlife Trust and Narberth Youth Theatre.

  • Oriel Myrddin main gallery for south west Wales. Contemporary Art gallery and house exhibitions. Inclusive, free art gallery – they have a rich and diverse community and education programme. Supported by ACW.
  • Cartref Cynnes – art club in a local care home – mainly women over 90 who attend with a range of physical abilities
  • 50 + forum at the National Botanic Gardens – talks through the U3A.
  • They also hold regular arts and crafts workshops for adults, a book club, gallery opens. Most participants are over 50 anecdotally.
  • Children and families – summer outdoor project, a schools programme, young artists club for 8 – 11, monthly group for teenagers – all linked to the exhibitions.
  • Immediate response to Covid 19 crisis – they didn’t think the lockdown would last for very long. So the response was slow. They started to make weekly art and craft classes aimed at families which were very popular. They ran a virtual gallery and worksheets. They collated resources for artists on funding.
  • But there was no provision for older people. This was because they didn’t know what their older participants access to technology was. They also didn’t necessarily have contact details for people as care homes were the point of contact. Also Emily felt hesitant about getting in touch with people at a time of crisis.
  • There was also a challenge around people in partner organisations being on furlough.
  • They normally plan really far ahead but they can’t do this at the moment. They had to shelve plans and rethink. Funders have extended deadlines and allowed them to change plans but psychologically it has been hard.
  • For older people, the loss of art as a tactile experience is very important and it has a therapeutic quality. Touch deficit for older people is a big issue. There is also the loss of the social experience. Older people are losing many social experiences at this time.
  • There is a particular relationship between artists and participants – as an artist you facilitate activities but you also facilitate conversations. This experience can’t be underestimated. Being in a quiet space and doing some together allows conversation to flow in a particular way.
  • Self-expression and wellbeing – there is a lot of research around this. Especially at this time – fear for loved ones, their daily routines are disrupted and they are feeling lonely – but they have also lost their means of self-expression.
  • Oriel Myrddin put a survey out and got 100 responses. Over 40% of respondents were over 55. They asked people how they would behave after lockdown – 68% answered that they would ease themselves back into social situations slowly and cautiously. Only 14% said they were interested in workshops on zoom.
  • Setting up session with Cartref Cynnes is hard – Emily has to go through a range of intermediaries. This makes things slow.
  • They are looking at different types of projects that can work on a variety of levels. There are new funding streams out there that can fund online work and Emily is also looking at doing some outdoor work.
  • Emily thinks its a good time to think about what the role of an arts organisation is. She has been looking at what they deliver and also looking at equality and diversity in the light of #BlackLivesMatter
  • She has been reading lots and recommends Resmaa Menakem – My Grandmothers Hands and Bayo Akomolafe
  • How do we change the way we make participatory arts?
  • How do we use technology and what is the right technology?
  • Can we play with tactile experiences?
  • Can we explore the possibilities of outdoor art with older people? Maybe find covered spaces where people can be socially distant but sheltered.



  • Denbighshire Arts Service ‘Lost in Art’ – commissioned Sian Hughes to film herself demonstrating techniques which then became DVDs that were distributed, as the older people were very happy to use DVDs
  • Ceredigion Museum – have been sending out museum packs to vulnerable groups and older people. It included reminiscence cards. Their chef is developing recipes to go out in food packs. Ceredigion council is using local suppliers. They also have a project called Quarantine Quilts and will make a digital and a live quilt. They will both be exhibited in their opening exhibition. They have staff and volunteers who are shielding so it’s hard to open the venue. They would miss such a big part of our community if they just work online. Print and other outreach methods are also extremely important. They want to make the space welcoming for people when they come back.
  • Networks exploring Covid – JISC mail through Welsh Museums Federation which produces a bulletin. This has been useful and also includes sub groups.
  • Funding – Various funds available – Baring Foundation, Art Fund
  • Welsh NHS Confederation are calling for examples of art activity during lockdown for their next briefing paper – deadline 11th July. Please send any links if you want to include anything to



BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales takes music beyond the confines of the concert hall into schools, workplaces and communities. It’s learning work aims to offer people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities unique opportunities to develop musical skills. The programme is delivered through a series of activities involving groups of musicians as well as the whole Orchestra, with projects designed to offer creative opportunities to meet and work alongside professional musicians.

  • Head of Partnership and Learning at the Orchestra
  • The Orchestra do concerts, workshops – schools and young people, talent development, health & wellbeing and tour

Projects for Older People –

  • Musicians on Call – people could phone into Radio 3 and nominate someone
  • Musical Telegrams – 90th birthday celebrations – visitin people who were also celebrating their 90th birthday
  • Orchestra musicians are not furloughed.

From Home to Homes – a concert series in partnership with Age Cymru

  • Mixed concert series – easy tunes. It happens every two weeks at 11am. It’s presented over zoom webinar so its a one way presentation – those watching the concert can’t be viewed on screen.
  • They chose ensembles who were all in one house.
  • The brief was to reach out and make contact with care homes. It was to be player led and hosted. They originally thought it would be two way.
  • Initially they looked at different things they could do and asked how they could make a difference and where the need was.
  • They had to assess technology and create guides for the players around how to use technology.
  • They explored safeguarding – they worked closely with the BBC vulnerable adults safeguarding team. It became clear that the two way interaction was going to be difficult. Making it a one way interaction gave them more control over how to do this. BBC cannot record any zoom sessions they do. The musicians were happier with this. They wrote their risk assessments and then they put a schedule together.
  • They trained everyone up and then ran an in house pilot with their musicians.
  • They created branding and a marketing campaign. They worked with age cymru to get it in their newsletter. They also sent out to their social media streams.
  • They follow up with evaluation but it’s hard to get feedback.
  • They’ve made the booking form in Welsh and English and have also made a phone booking line – a staff member mans the phone. Participants can phone into the call if they really can’t engage via zoom.
  • They’ve asked for song requests and birthday shout outs. The musicians name-check each care home who join.
  • They also put graphics into the videos so that people can see the names of pieces and created a holding screen for the beginning and end of the concert.
  • Sign Up – not everyone who signs up actually attends. It’s hard to know why this is. When people sign up on zoom they don’t know if they are a care home or an individual. They can’t really gauge reaction – as they can’t see anyone.
  • They have had some feedback on audio quality – sometimes its hard to hear speaking sometimes.
  • What we are doing is passive so its not the same experience as being in the room.
  • However, they have been able to make the musicians feel more connected to the community.
  • They are exploring new delivery models – classical music has worked harder on promoting live experiences. But this is a good way to link to more people. When you have an orchestra they want to perform together but you can’t take an orchestra to a care home.
  • It can also be made UK wide – or even international.
  • One Participant said ‘ This just brought a bit of normality into our lives!’
  • Age Cymru appreciated being asked by BBC about how to work in the right way – it has felt very participant led.



  • Beatrice will try and share some of the guides they have created. They have also created guides for prerecording and safeguarding.
  • Concerts usually take first priority and its hard for us to reach across Wales consistently – this is a way we can keep connections up across the year. But they also don’t want to lose the live – but doing both might be the way forward.
  • Writing for Wellbeing – Karen is running lots of sessions on zoom and this is working well. She uses lots of prompts for writing that could also be used for visual arts. She is interested in repurposing things in the home for writing and arts. She is based in North Wales and keen to connect into networks.
  • Some arts organisations are using some of their funding to help practitioners to upskill.
  • Heloise – talked about an Arts Active project
  • Louise – this time has given me a chance to collaborate with different organisations across wales and make projects that I wouldn’t have made before.
  • Questions were asked about how we can share work more transparently across the sector and make more collaborations?
  • Can we share facebook groups that people can join?

ArtWorksCymru Practice Group, Wales Arts Health and Wellbeing Network, Dance in Wales, Youth Arts Network Cymru

  • Tension – about BBC delivering concerts for free – BBC really sensitive about not taking work away from musicians. So they have been clear that this work is only for this time.
  • Local activity – lots of artists offering local activity. But can we connect better in terms of sharing what we do and share things around?
  • Is anyone charging for their work? How do we move to a model where people pay us? As a freelancer -find the charities near you that need to show they are continuing to work with older people and use art in the community.
  • Local County Councils have money and Karen was funded to do workshops in a bereavement cafe.
  • Music For Dementia Radio – suggested collaboration with BBC. Laura works with music during her visual arts sessions in care homes.


Huge thank you again to Rhian for taking notes!

Further meetings have been scheduled, you can find out more at the ArtsWorks Cymru website.

Posted Monday, June 15th, 2020

Meeting notes from Participatory Arts, Capturing the Learning – Older People Zoom meeting on Thursday 28 May. Thank you, diolch yn fawr to all who contributed and attended.


Our work is often about meeting people face to face, so a lot is on hold. We have been running check in and chat calls with people who are much more isolated. We have made 10,000 calls since March. About 50% of over 65 year olds are not on the internet. So working online with them is not possible. 600 people are registered and are being talked to regularly.

Gwanwyn is postponed until October currently.

cARTrefu – working in Care Homes – so this is postponed at the moment.

Creative Ageing Chats, speaking to people that are delivering creative ageing activity or planning projects. Please get in touch if you want to chat.

Keen to keep the conversation going, so please let me know if you’d like me to share any of your creative ageing activity through the Gwanwyn Facebook of Twitter account. Also please do let us know if you have activities that are suitable for those in care homes and we’ll share it through our fortnightly newsletter. Email –


Artis Community – Hannah Hitchins

Community Arts organisation based in Pontypridd.

  • Crafty Cuppas has been running for three years to tackle isolation and loneliness with older people. Started in partnership with Age Connect Morganwg and their befriending service.
  • First engagement was in their own homes but now run weekly sessions. Aimed at over 50s but they also have been approached by under 50s.
  • They run sessions in Pontypridd and in Merthyr in the Red House. Around 47 participants attend. Two hour sessions – lots of different arts activities. They listen to the group and let them lead.
  • Participants started locking down early, but they kept the contact up. Heard that participants were feeling very isolated. But Lockdown has given then a chance to re-engage with participants who weren’t regularly attenders.
  • Started the #sendlove project and worked with community members to send postcards to group members. This kept the link up. But they started to look at other ways to engage the group. Creating activity packs and tutorials that worked with things that people could find in their house. People on social media can connect. Hannah phones everyone every two / three weeks for a chat. Some of the volunteers are creating things for the pack as well.
  • Some participants don’t have any relatives in Wales, so links from Artis are really vital.
  • The group is primarily social. We’ve been involving them in bigger projects like YMCA Public Art project.
  • Other projects – Home to home songwriting – Messages of Support – Here I am.
  • They will be creating an exhibition of the work that has been made. They would like to set up Zoom sharings, but are aware that not everyone can attend.
  • Challenges – we need to think positive – like Bernard. But it’s a challenge to keep them connected socially. Hannah finds it hard to boost people if they are feeling down. It takes a lot of time and admin to make it happen. IT limitations are a problem for the participants.
  • Going forward – we need to make the group safe for the vulnerable participants.


Re-live – Karin Diamond

Arts and Health organisation that specialise in Life Story work through drama, music, movement and song. They use a collaborative, hopeful methodology, working alongside people who are curious about exploring their own life story through the arts. They create Life Story Theatre performances that take place in theatres and community venues. They work alongside older people, military veterans, people living with dementia and people at the end of life.


  • Before lockdown Re-Live were working with military veterans and their families (Coming Home to the Arts project) and a group of people living with dementia and their families (The Memoria Group). They thought hard about what they could offer their groups during the lockdown and took things very slow at first.  They asked lots of questions of themselves as practitioners and their participants.
  • Many participants had access to a smart phone or an ipad.
  • They looked into Zoom and decided to explore this. They found some good short training videos in how to use Zoom. Re-Live practitioners didn’t know much about working online so they were on a new journey.
  • Some participants needed 1.5 hours of tech support to get online.
  • For participants without the capability of connecting online, Re-Live started connecting through phone calls and letters.


Tips on using Zoom:

  • mute / unmute button works well but participants can have difficulty finding this. Patience and practice is key!
  • The Zoom experience can be intense so invite participants to choose whether they have their camera on or off
  • Asking questions & asking people to put their hands up if they need to get your attention
  • Give participants the option to leave the Zoom space at any time. We don’t want Zoom to make people feel more trapped during lockdown
  • Consent – we record some sessions but we’re clear why we are recording a session and who is it for. Consent has many stages and might change multiple times so Re-Live use ‘rolling consent’
  • Confidentiality – we can’t offer complete confidentiality on Zoom due to people connecting at home. We’re transparent about the differences between working together face to face in a rehearsal room and working from home
  • When the meeting ends – it says ‘End Meeting’ – the wording of Zoom doesn’t fit with our practice – we lighten the experience and make sure we say goodbye to everyone and ensure everyone feels seen and heard before leaving. Zoom was designed as a teleconference space.
  • We are trying to be predictable in an unpredictable world – we have regular Zoom times and we don’t deviate. This has really helped participants to have a structure to their lives in lockdown.
  • You work like a DJ in the Zoom space! You’re running the group but ensuring that all your tech is working at the same time. Be prepared to juggle.
  • Check voice and volume – how is your voice in this space? Can you Zoom with a colleague to check voice, volume, eye contact etc.
  • Eye contact – it is hard to make eye contact on Zoom (through your camera) and connect to the whole group on your computer screen. Just be mindful of this. It feels very different to working with people face to face.
  • Be transparent if tech issues arise.
  • If you are interrupted at home while running a group e.g. the doorbell goes, a child walks in to say hello to you, just be clear what is going on. We’re all trying our best!
  • Check your Zoom background – ensure your participants see a positive window into your world.
  • Sessions run for around 60-75 minutes – any longer can feel draining
  • If possible, two practitioners per session is key. This might not be possible but working on your own can feel isolating
  • Post session practitioner check in – practitioners stay after sessions and reflect. Very helpful as we develop this new form of working.
  • Frustrations with Zoom – wifi freezing / people using phones and only seeing four people / music distortion / robot voice
  • When Zoom works – breathing together / warm ups / exercises that involve everyone / repetition is key / work on the imagination / laughing together
  • Breakout rooms – are a great way to connect people in smaller groups – which helps with listening, sharing detail, developing new connections, less intense than the main group.


Welsh National Opera – Jenn Hill

Producer in the Youth & Community department. Running a project called Cradle working in Milford Haven which aims to create better understanding about dementia and how with extra bits of knowledge every individual can support those living with the disease better. The Milford Haven project is working with primary school children and people with dementia. 96 Year 5s and a choir formed for people living with dementia and their supporters.

  • So far the schools have had writing sessions to create song lyrics around dementia-related themes, Dementia Awareness training,  composition sessions with a composer setting their words to music and have met with people living with the disease at a local Day centre and then welcoming service users into their school for a Christmas craft and singing session. The project was planned to culminate in a sharing performance with all participants in early July.
  • Cradle Choir started in October – 35 people meeting weekly in the Torch Theatre.
  • Thought hard about what they could do to keep the group going after lockdown. Wanted to keep the idea of a weekly sessions. So they looked to zoom and decided to give it a try with an initial small trial session which met with great enthusiasm so they decided to continue. It was challenging as they didn’t have good contacts for people. Jenn needed to ring every member to ascertain if they wanted to try the zoom experience and had the IT to do so. She learned a huge amount about the group in the process but couldn’t reach everybody.
  • They gathered a core group of 20 people. It was disappointing to not be able to have everyone attending. Some people didn’t want to engage online. Lots of stories of people helping each other to connect.
  • Invitations need to be sent information in different ways – some need email, some text. It can be very labour intensive.
  • One block of flats have three households who take part with one of these helping the others with equipment and setting them up each week
  • Volunteers have dropped off updated word sheets to participants if needed.
  • The group like to have structured meeting times. They get excited about seeing each other.

The sessions

  • You can’t replicate the choir experience on zoom
  • You can’t sync voices live
  • A piano track is recorded and leader records vocal line on that which is used alongside live elements going over specific bits of music
  • They started doing  30 minutes but they now do an hour and make it more social
  • Sessions start with a welcome and chat
  • David will mute participants as they explore different songs
  • They also have points where singers come and sing for them – so participants can sit back and relax
  • They were hoping to have a final sharing. But it’s clear now that the school can’t join as anticipated . They are now exploring doing a zoom session between the school and the choir and invited guests.
  • Schools are now very busy and are over stretched. It’s hard to connect with the children in any way particularly around issues of child protection and concerns about children’s home environments being seen on screen as well as issues of availability of I.T equipment. WNO are still considering how they might share at the end.
  • It’s hard to see when group singing might be able to happen, so they are exploring other ways to keep the project going.
  • They might try to open out the session for other care homes, although they don’t want to lose the community feel. They are working with Pembrokeshire County Council to explore how this might happen.
  • But it has helped WNO to explore the digital space and how people can take part virtually which will definitely be incorporated in future alongside resumed live sessions if possible.
  • Schools are sending out learning produced by WNO for pupils to learn their songs via google classroom but the school are telling them that only 30% of children are engaging more broadly across the whole of the school with online content (ie for set school work)..
  • Community Choir in South Wales were doing a performance and that is much harder to take online as very much designed as a live performance project
  • All sessions with the Cradle Choir are closed sessions – but if we were broadcasting that would be different – there are big issues around rights and copyright when using material.



  • Working with care homes is difficult. Some haven’t been affected so much, but some care homes have had to shut down. Age Cymru is sending a newsletter out to all cARTrefu care homes and are happy to share any activities that people have.
  • Importance of talking – Age Cymru can support with phone calls if you have any participants who you think need support – Friend In Need  or Advice Line 08000 223444
  • Older People’s Commissioner – have guides about how to get people online.
  • Avant Cymru – always have half an hour of social time and they advertise this as part of their sessions. This is really important for people. It developed organically as they started to experiment with how sessions ran on zoom.
  • Eye Contact – Karin (Re-live) commented that for people who have visual disturbances or problems with eyes can find the zoom space very hard. One participant has managed to get his laptop to work on his TV – this gives him space. They also do a lot of work with eyes closed – so people rest their eyes. They also play a game where they have to turn their camera on and off. This helps people to have agency and also centralises the aural experience of the session.
  • Reading people’s body language is challenging and is something that movement practitioners find hard. – Karin (Re-live) commented that the check in at the beginning of a session could really help this – asking people to describe themselves as the weather or the sea – this helped them to understand where people are at. The sensory clues we normally rely on are gone. The more we check in with our group, the more confident you can be about. So they check in throughout the session. You can do this with movement as well. You can also use the polling element of zoom.
  • Tracey (Rubicon) – they have been engaging with participants on the phone. They’ve spent some time talking to really find out what participants want. Active over 50 groups are nervous about a dance session in case they fall. What do you do if someone falls in their own home and they live alone?
  • Self Care for Practitioners – running zoom sessions takes a different energy. We need to make sure our practitioners are supported.
  • Reaching new people – Karin (Re-live) is looking at setting up a national life story project that can connect across Wales and beyond. Zoom offers the potential to do this.
  • Digital Gap – some people have no connection to the internet. Are there any funders who are offering funding to get people online? Grandpad – a tablet that has the internet connection built in – you just need 4G. It’s £399. Community Covenant has some grants to support veterans to get online.
  • Some rural areas can support costs of getting online – Dyfed Telecom offer funding.
  • Copyright – this might dictate the work we make. It needs to be considered and we are learning more about this. It would be good to share some knowledge about this.
  • Prue – Autobiographical work involves talking about other people and this involves consent issues when you are putting work online.


A further meeting will be held called Beyond the Lockdown. Date and time tbc. List of meetings can be found at ArtWorks Cymru.

Huge thank you to Rhian for the notes!


Posted Friday, May 22nd, 2020

In response to the lockdown triggered by COVID-19, many arts organisations have taken their work online, sharing content for audiences to view for free. However, creating participatory engagement online is much more challenging and, as a sector used to being face to face with people in their practice, it’s clear that the current restrictions change the nature of our work substantially.

Following a vital conversation on social media led by Guy O’Donnell, Learning and Participation Producer, National Dance Company Wales which opened a discussion on how we can deliver participatory arts effectively, a range of partners are collaborating to lead Zoom discussions for the sector where we can talk about the impact of the lockdown on our work and work creatively together to think beyond the lockdown.

This Zoom meeting will explore how we capture the learning from organisations and artists who are currently delivering projects. We’ll explore what methods are working well, what are we learning through this experience, and how we are adapting our working practices.

The following guests will be joining us for this session: Karin Diamond (Re-Live) Hannah Hitchins (Artis Community) Jennifer Hill (Welsh National Opera)

Kelly Barr (Gwanwyn/Age Cymru) will host the meeting on Zoom and curate a range of speakers to kick the discussions off. Artworks Cymru is working with all partners to notate discussions.

Zoom logins will be sent to you once you have registered to join the meeting.

The following partners have collaborated together to bring you this series of Zoom meetings:

ArtWorks Cymru, Gwanwyn, National Dance Company Wales, Tanio, Voluntary Arts Wales, Wales Wide Training Programme, Youth Arts Network Cymru


Mewn ymateb i’r cyfyngiadau symud a achoswyd gan COVID-19, mae llawer o sefydliadau celf wedi mynd â’u gwaith ar-lein, gan rannu cynnwys i gynulleidfaoedd ei weld yn rhad ac am ddim. Fodd bynnag, mae creu ymgysylltiad cyfranogol ar-lein yn llawer mwy o her ac, fel sector sydd wedi arfer bod wyneb i wyneb â phobl yn eu hymarfer, mae’n amlwg fod y cyfyngiadau presennol yn newid natur ein gwaith yn sylweddol.

Yn dilyn sgwrs hanfodol ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol dan arweiniad Guy O’Donnell, Cynhyrchydd Dysgu a Chyfranogiad, Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru a agorodd drafodaeth ar sut y gallwn gyflenwi celfyddydau cyfranogol mewn modd effeithlon, mae ystod o bartneriaid yn cydweithio i arwain trafodaethau Zoom ar gyfer y sector lle gallwn siarad am effaith y cyfyngiadau symud ar ein gwaith a chydweithio’n greadigol i feddwl tu hwnt i’r cyfyngiadau symud.

Bydd y cyfarfod Zoom yma’n ymchwilio sut gallwn gasglu’r dysgu gan sefydliadau ac artistiaid sy’n cyflenwi prosiectau ar hyn o bryd. Byddwn yn ymchwilio pa ddulliau sy’n gweithio’n dda, yr hyn rydym yn ei ddysgu drwy’r profiad hwn a sut ydym yn addasu ein harferion gwaith.

Bydd y gwesteion dilynol yn ymuno â ni ar gyfer y sesiwn yma: Karin Diamond (Re-Live) Hannah Hitchins (Artis Community) Jennifer Hill (Opera Cenedlaethol Cymru)

Kelly Barr (Gwanwyn/Age Cymru) fydd yn trefnu’r cyfarfod ar Zoom ac yn paratoi ystod o siaradwyr i ddechrau’r trafodaethau. Bydd Artworks Cymru yn gweithio gyda phob partner i gadw nodiadau o’r trafodaethau.

Anfonir manylion mewngofnodi Zoom atoch unwaith y byddwch wedi cofrestru i ymuno â’r cyfarfod.

Mae’r partneriaid dilynol wedi cydweithio i ddod â’r gyfres hon o gyfarfodydd Zoom i chi:

ArtWorks Cymru, Gwanwyn, Cwmni Dawns Cenedlaethol Cymru, Tanio, Celfyddydau Gwirfoddol Cymru, Rhaglen Hyfforddiant Cymru Gyfan, Rhwydwaith Celfyddydau Ieuenctid Cymru




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 –

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 –

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 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 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


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 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.



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 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, 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.’

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

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.

Posted Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

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


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?


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.

Posted Tuesday, January 31st, 2017


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.


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:

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 ( 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 ( or phone on 01834 869323 for further information.’

Posted Friday, December 16th, 2016


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.


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