Case Study: Creative Wellness

Authors(s), Creator(s) and Contributors: Haul - arts in health

Publication Date: 15/01/2024

Categories: Case Studies

Partner(s): Hywel Dda University Health Board Ceredigion County Council RAY Ceredigion HAHAV (Hospice at Home Aberystwyth Volunteers)

Funder(s): HAUL, Hywel Dda’s Ceredigion Primary Care Cluster, RAY Ceredigion, HAHAV, ACW


HAUL worked with Hywel Dda’s Primary Care Clusters and with RAY Ceredigion and HAHAV. Discussions began months prior the funding was in place. Together with the service users they determined the needs of the project and what art forms they would like to experience. Initial discussions indicated that involvement in the visual arts would be popular and a Dementia Choir. The project provided four x ten week arts based activities for RAY Ceredigion’s Multi Generational Hub Dementia group in Aberaeron, and HAHAV’s regular Dementia group who attend Caffi Cofion at Plas Antaron, Aberystwyth. The groups had over ten people attending each session at their respective centres, with more being referred to the groups. The delivery time had to be adjusted and the projects began in July 2022.

The Challenge

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s North & South Primary Care Clusters have a number of GP’s on their Boards who regularly request HAUL to provide creative based activities for their patients in Ceredigion. The third sector hold regular Dementia groups, which are increasing in numbers annually. Local Authority Community Connectors are experiencing an increase in demand for resources within the community that can deliver arts based activities for their vulnerable residents. The proven model of arts activities as a wellbeing intervention is gaining traction nationwide, however delivery is sparse and short-term due to lack of sustainable funding. These short courses from HAUL further demonstrate that this type of project has the potential to make a difference.

The Approach

Four well respected local Artists (3 of which are highly experienced in community work) delivered a total of 40 creative sessions within two community settings in Ceredigion. These involved over 400 participants creating a variety of artworks in different artforms e.g. approaches to Landscape. Referencing the paintings of Kurt Jackson and photographs of local landscapes and created a collage inspired by Leger & Matisse, creating and completing individual mosaics to take home. In Addition, 10 of the sessions worked with the Dementia Choir that abegan with warm ups and a singing along to familiar pieces e.g. National Anthem in Welsh. These sessions concluded with listening to an example of ‘world music’, which prompted discussions and reminiscences of travel. The project was delivered from late July 2022 to end of October 2022 with project costs on facilitation, materials and each Artist delivering 10 two hour sessions at a total cost of £13,352. The project was delivered within community settings that partners are based in with in-kind costs for venue hire. The whole project was based on developing community partnerships and collaboration with the statutory organisations e.g.Health Board and Local Authority.

The Impact

HAUL appreciated the fact that ‘Evaluation’ was to be an integer and important aspect of the the Arts in Health Projects. Our mixed methods evaluation for this specific project was developed with Dr Maria Hayes with the aims of exploring, understanding, and articulating the experiences of those engaged in the projects - facilitators, participants and the host organisations - in order to better understand the process of planning, delivering and evaluating the project to assess the impact of taking part. We aimed to capture the impact that participating in creative work has on vulnerable people and their carers and to understand the strengths and challenges of the approaches taken. The evaluation needed to capture and articulate the experiences of the artist facilitators who plan and deliver sessions, and who assist participants to complete evaluation tools in order to inform the development of future work. The evaluation also included a brief analysis of the challenges of accessing funding, project management and recruitment methods in order to make future proof recommendations for the development of quality Arts in Health projects. HAUL believes that the final Evaluation Report (sent to ACW) produced by Dr Maria Hayes captures all of the above.

Lessons Learned

In terms of challenging, the project was delayed with late funding from ACW which generated pressures on HAUL, the artist facilitators and the host organisation. The pressures included a reduced amount of time to recruit the right artist facilitators for the work and location. More time is required to give artist facilitators notice in order to recruit the right people for the job. However, the real winner here was the partnerships developed and the trust gained from HAUL delivering the project as stated and for future collaborations.

The Legacy

As stated above the project has enabled HAUL to work closely with other Third Sector groups in Ceredigion and with Statutory organisations like the Health Board and Local Authority. Quote by one of the Artists "The group have begun to use the space like a studio, independently getting up and fetching materials and tools they want and experimenting with new tools and techniques not introduced by the artist”. The organisations are looking to fund continued arts activities and to work with HAUL again and especially the local Health Board.

Website and Social Media Links

The project Evaluation report is attached/uploaded and has been shared with ACW Officers and a video of the Dementia Choir has been uploaded to the ACW Portal.

Contact Details

Bryn Jones HAUL Arts Facilitator 07896039625

Tags: Dementia Groups Third Sector Partners Health Board Partners Creative Activities Community Settings Primary Care Clusters Chronic Life Limiting Illnesses Positive Difference through the Arts Rural Projects Isolation Vulnerable in Society Evaluation

Creative Wellness