Case Study: Dwylo Bach

Authors(s), Creator(s) and Contributors: Sioned Philips, Dwylo Bach Project Coordinator and Ticky Lowe, CEO Making Sense CIO

Publication Date: 06/12/2023

Categories: Case Studies

Partner(s): Conwy Borough Council, Ruthin Craft Centre, Llanrwst Family Centre, Conwy Libraries, Mudiad Meithrin and STAND.

Funder(s): Clocaenog Forest Wind Farm Fund


Dwylo Bach is a creative programme of activities for early years children and their families/carers, delivered by Making Sense CIO. It has been successfully developed in partnership with Ruthin Craft Centre over the last 3 years and now expanded across North Wales. Dwylo Bach sessions are jam-packed with joyful learning; designed for little artists to explore their inner creativity, be curious and MAKE! Inspired by our partners exhibition programmes activity is sensory and playful for ALL to enjoy. It targets young families living in rural areas, who may not visit galleries or participate in art activities. This case study focuses on how high-quality arts experiences can reduce social Isolation and be used as a ‘tool’ to help heal the mind, supporting young families health and wellbeing. 

The Challenge

Creative play is pivotal to the development of all children; the freedom and encouragement to make things with your child is significantly beneficial to both parent and child. Joining a group makes a pertinent opportunity for connecting with your community. It counteracts the isolation of being a parent, especially living in a rural area. Loneliness within early stages of parenthood is common, especially when they’re feeling low or anxious or overwhelmed. Our sessions offer a multi-sensory experience; participants come together, socialise and meet new people in a safe, friendly atmosphere. ‘Arts’ in early childhood significantly strengthens parent-child bonds, engages families in their children’s learning, providing a positive shared experience, to explore and promote sense of wellbeing.

The Approach

Our aim was to introduce the Dwylo Bach programme to a wider audience by sharing our practice, expertise and range of approaches as to how cultural venues can engage and deliver a stimulating inclusive programme promoting joy and wellbeing through the ‘art of making.’ The project reached young families in rural areas in Conwy County. The main sessions took place in Llanrwst, in non-art settings, Glasdir Llanrwst Library and Llanrwst Family Centre; 12 x 2-hour sessions (6 in each venue) over 6 months. We also worked closely with following groups; providing a series of multi- sensory workshops tailored to their needs.

• 3x Local independent childminder providers

• 2 x ‘Ti a fi’ groups via Mudiad Meithrin, Welsh Early Years Specialists

• STAND; a not-for-profit CIC, representing the families of children and young adults with speech, language and communication needs, additional needs and disabilities in North Wales. All of the sessions were led by experienced practitioners, with extensive knowledge of gallery education and early childhood development.

The project concluded with a creative training event at Mostyn Gallery, sharing our Dwylo Bach findings led by Multi -Sensory Artist/ Director of Making Sense CIO, Ticky Lowe and Dance Artist/ Early Years Specialist, Angharad Harrop.

The Impact

Our evaluation process included: Feedback collated via questionnaires and informal discussions with participants Regular review meetings with our partners and project team Data collecting Documentation – illustrated evidence of the activities that took place (please see links below) Our findings identify the importance of introducing creativity into early years learning as it supports the growth and development of all children. The freedom to manipulate different materials in an organic and unstructured way allows for exploration and experimentation, it is not only fun but educational as well. ‘A nice way to meet other parents and families. I hope they can continue as they’re so beneficial for the community’ ‘Wedi mwynhau amrywiaeth o weithgareddau creadigol mewn awyrgylch anffurfiol a hamddenol iawn. Braf gweld plant eraill o bob oed ac oedolion. Mae’r sesiwn yn helpu efo iaith, llythrennau, lliwiau. Mwynhau ‘baeddu’ Dwylo bach a mentro cyffwrdd efo pethau gwahanol ‘Thanks… it will always be something I remember about Sam's early years and you probably don't appreciate the impact it has… you have all made a big difference thank you .’ A total of 276 children aged 0-4 and 181 adults engaged with our sessions at Llanrwst; each session was delivered at full capacity.

Lessons Learned

Our free sessions were very popular and sold out immediately on Eventbrite. Attendees tend to book all sessions at once, so difficult for new people to join later. A new controlled/time-release booking system ensures a fair chance for everyone. As we’ve expanded over different local authorities, we’ve set up Dwylo Bach on Instagram, where all information is in one place with links to bookings via partners venues, to make it easy for families to book. Feedback from our Dwylo Bach team means we include more planning time for future projects.

The Legacy

Dwylo Bach is an excellent opportunity for health partners to connect with early years learning professionals and exchange ideas and best practice. It offers a supportive environment encouraging participants to explore new ways of collaborative working to benefit children's learning and development. We aim to continue offering training/CPD opportunities for co-development between arts and health and early years providers. We aim to raise funding for projects to run regularly, building strong relationships with our partners and communities.

Website and Social Media Links

Making Sense CIO –

Dwylo Bach Project -

Dwylo Bach Short Films – Vimeo Film 1: Film 2:

Follow us on Instagram: dwylobach_chwarae_creu 

Contact Details

Ticky Lowe, Director of Making Sense CIO Email:

Tags: Visual Art, Early Years, Children, Families, Pregnancy, Parents, Wellbeing, Isolation, Childhood Development, Mental Health, Social Isolation, Community, Rural Living, Invitation to Play, Create, Explore, Artworks, Art Galleries, Artists, Craft.

Dwylo Bach