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Inspiring Arts Programme Changes Lives

 Karl Daymond and residents

Dan y Mynydd home with singer Karl Daymond and residents

An inspiring arts programme has helped improve the lives of a special group of vulnerable adults in Rhondda Cynon Taf

“Being Creatively Active” is aninnovative scheme that makes use of the arts to improve the wellbeing of adults living with dementia.

The programme which is funded by the Arts Council for Wales, aims to demonstrate the difference that the arts make to individuals, by allowing them to benefit from interacting with others, expressing their emotions or frustrations.

It is being delivered by ArtsConnect, a unique collaboration of four local authority arts services committed to improving engagement in the arts, theatres and galleries at a regional level.

Working with older people with dementia throughout the neighbouring local authorities is classical music group Triptych, whose professional musicians specialise in famous arias and songs.

Working with reminiscence artist, Katrina Kirkwood, they helped residents of Dan y Mynydd residential home in Porth to remember the music of their youth.

These can vary from favourite songs performed on the rugby terraces or the music of chapel choirs. Such music encourages older people with dementia to reminisce while also allowing family members to bring in photographs to help stimulate their memories.

The project was delivered by opera singer Karl Daymond, who runs successful singing clubs in South Wales, and worked specifically with the residents to establish a choir for people with dementia.

The project complemented the innovative “Butterfly Project” at the centre to improve quality of life and inspire those with dementia. In addition, this project utilised the skills of a reminiscence artist Katrina Kirkwood, who helped the residents remember the music of their youth.

“Being Creatively Active at Dan y Mynydd has been an outstanding success and helped improve the lives of a vulnerable group people in our communities.

“On the one hand evidence shows how music and songs can stimulate the memory of those with dementia, allowing them to remember passages or moments in their lives.

“This is the latest venture to take place thanks to the support of ArtsConnect, which has allowed neighbouring local authorities to share their arts resources and expertise.”

ArtsConnect is the first and only local government arts service collaboration in Wales, covering Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, The Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf County Boroughs and supported by the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Government Arts & Lottery Policy branch and Welsh Local Government Association Leisure, Culture, Tourism, and Heritage.

ArtsConnect member arts services share their arts officer expertise and resources in order to improve the range and quality of arts experiences on offer within the area, ensuring that the arts contribute to emotional well-being, improving literacy and numeracy, creating vibrant, safe and sustainable communities, reducing the impact of poverty and contributing to the prosperity of Wales.

By collaborating on arts service delivery in theatres, galleries and in the wider community often in partnership with the third sector, ArtsConnect enables local authorities in South Wales to more efficiently and effectively deliver their arts services, by avoiding duplication and securing external funding together and by making the case for the value of the arts with a stronger voice.

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