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£250,000 for UK’s first dementia friendly arts venue

  • Date: 19 December 2013
  • Area: Midlands
The Courtyard's Art and Older People Project

The Courtyard's Art and Older People 'Remember Me' project.

The first UK arts venue to join the Dementia Action Alliance earlier this year has been awarded funds by Arts Council England to deliver their Arts and Older People Project nationally.  

Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation have announced that Hereford’s Courtyard Centre for the Arts will receive £250,000 arts and older people in care funding.

The Courtyard currently provides an eclectic mix of lively and entertaining activities for older people across the rural county of Herefordshire. These include a choir and a successful poetry project for people with dementia.

In February this year, The Courtyard became the first arts venue to join the Dementia Action Alliance, establishing the centre as a leader in the development of dementia friendly arts venues.

Staff at The Courtyard have received dementia awareness training and as part of the centre's Arts and Older People project, The Courtyard offers mentoring and training sessions to teach local arts practitioners to deliver participatory arts based workshops for older people.

The £250,000 funding from Arts Council England and the Baring Foundation will enable The Courtyard to deliver a programme of arts activities for older people in residential care homes throughout the country.

In partnership with Shaw Health Care, The Courtyard will set up participatory arts projects in 32 of Shaw’s care homes in the West Midlands, South East, South West, the East Midlands and London.

These projects will be led by four specialist arts practitioners with expertise in visual art, theatre, dance and poetry.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Midlands, Arts Council England, said: “The Courtyard’s approach to providing arts activities for older people and people living with dementia has been inspiring.

“In Herefordshire, The Courtyard’s Arts and Older People project has reached more than 6,500 people and I am really pleased that with the support of this funding they will be able to continue this good work in other regions.

“The Courtyard has a proven plan to make their work in care homes across the country sustainable and the projects they have planned will help make the quality of life for those individuals and their families much better."

Ian Archer, Chief Executive of The Courtyard in Herefordshire
, said: “We are delighted that The Courtyard has been given this opportunity to help transform the lives of older people in residential care.

“The Courtyard is committed to providing the platform and support for older people to express themselves creatively and to enhance their lives through the arts."