cARTrefu: creating artists in residents

‘I am blossoming like these flowers’

– Quote from a cARTrefu participant

In August this year, amidst the confusion, chaos and sadness of five months of Covid19, Age Cymru launched our social return on investment findings for the cARTrefu arts in care homes programme. Five years on from our first foray into running creative activities in care home settings, we’ve not only proven that cARTrefu has a statistically significant impact on the wellbeing of residents (cARTrefu Evaluation Report 2015 – 2017), but also that it has a very real economic and social benefit.

Based on rigorous evaluation and assumptions based on previous research, the estimated Social Return on Investment is £6.48 for every pound invested during the first two years – (cARTrefu SROI Infographic)

‘Well I would never have thought I’d be having such fun. My belly is hurting now [from laughing so much]’ – Quote from a cARTrefu participant

More than anything, cARTrefu has allowed us to promote relationship-centred care, by showing creative ways for families and staff to connect with residents and who they are now. We would love for everyone to see how care homes can be a fantastic place for people to age in a positive way, where staff and residents alike can explore their creative sides together and where a sense of community, filled with laughter and joy, is created. You can see our cARTrefu film, by BAFTA Award-winning film-maker Clare Sturges, here.

‘Thank you for spending time with my husband. This is what residents need – they just need people to spend time with them and take an interest in them and provide meaningful activities. I haven’t seen him concentrate on something for this long in over a year. It’s really quite emotional.’ – Quote from a cARTrefu participant’s family member

Over the next year, we’ll continue to deliver cARTrefu workshops for care home staff across Wales, to give practical tips on how to bring creativity into everyday life, and how to ensure that all residents can be included. To be kept up to date of these opportunities, please email the cARTrefu Project Coordinator, Sarah Lord, on

Kelly Barr, 
Arts & Creativity Programme Manager

Kelly Barr is Age Cymru’s Arts & Creativity Programme Manager, managing Gwanwyn Festival, an annual festival that celebrates arts and creativity in older age, as well as the cARTrefu arts and care homes project, and other projects that challenge stereotypes of ageing and provide opportunities for older people to take part in creative activities – and



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