Case Study: Moving Beyond Compliance

Authors(s), Creator(s) and Contributors: National Dance Company Wales

Publication Date: 06/10/2022

Categories: Case Studies

Partner(s): National Dance Company Wales Cartrefi Cymru Cooperative Limited National Activities Provider Association (NAPA)

Funder(s): Arts Council of Wales – Health & Wellbeing Lottery grant Budget also supported by partner contributions (cash and in kind)


Moving Beyond Compliance is a partnership project, developed by National Dance Company Wales and Cartrefi Cymru Cooperative Limited, to explore how movement can benefit Cartrefi Cymru staff who support people with learning disabilities. It was designed to explore new ways to support their wellbeing and to also inspire a model that could, in future, benefit staff working in a range of care settings. The project addressed the physical and mental demands on people working in care giving roles and invited participating staff to input into future related work. The workshops took place in Brecon in May 2022, evaluation was undertaken by National Activities Provider Association (NAPA) and the project received funding from Arts Council of Wales.

The Challenge

The central focus of this project was staff wellbeing. Cartrefi Cymru staff experience high levels of sickness which is detrimental to them, the people they support and also has financial implications for Cartrefi Cymru. Muscular/skeletal issues are common due to the nature of the duties that the support workers undertake therefore a movement approach was chosen to address physical care and relieve tension in body and mind. Social care is under enormous strain, impacted further by the Covid 19 pandemic, and retaining staff is an issue therefore this project focused on the need to invest in the wellbeing of those delivering care.

The Approach

The pilot project consisted of a preliminary shadowing element, two participatory movement workshops designed and led by dance artists Yvette Halfhide, Marla King and Jake Nwogu, who have experience of dance and health focused projects, and a resulting short film by Jim Elliott. A callout was communicated to Cartrefi Cymru staff resulting in a total of 18 participants. The shadowing element was beneficial for both the staff and dance artists as it acted as an icebreaker ahead of the practical workshop and influenced workshop structure and content. The workshops were designed to address five key aspects of wellbeing: physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual. They were delivered in a playful, fun and inclusive way with no prior experience of dance needed. The workshops (10am – 4pm) took place in May 2022 in non-work related venues - Subud Hall and Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon. Delivery of activity in a neutral environment was noted as beneficial. There was regular consultation between dance artists and project partners throughout delivery to assess and inform next steps. The approach was highly collaborative due to the exploratory nature of it being a pilot.

The Impact

NAPA led the evaluation reflecting the experience of all involved, learning points, how the process achieved its goals and future potential. The impact of the project was measured qualitatively through participant feedback obtained during workshops and pre and post project questionnaires. Participants were invited to share views on all elements of the project including shadowing, workshop venues, workshop content, impact on mental and physical wellbeing and the social element. The project was successful in terms of addressing a range of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing needs of participants. The movement aspects of the sessions had particular benefits in terms of relieving stress and tension, resulting in increased physical awareness after the workshops. The social benefits were as beneficial as the movement and relaxation aspects. The appreciation of shared experience with colleagues may have been particularly heightened following the Covid 19 pandemic, although the nature of the support worker’s duties can be isolating, and it was clear the opportunity to connect was valued. The evaluation was documented in a report accompanied by a short project film.

Lessons Learned

In future more time will be given to shadowing staff prior to workshop delivery as it was vital for relationship building and workshop planning. Impact could be achieved in one targeted workshop rather than two also reducing demand on participants’ work schedules. Sharing workshop delivery between 3 dance artists enabled a cohesive flow and application of individual strengths. An unplanned but positive outcome was the creation of a post workshop resource, developed by the artists, for participants to practise wellbeing techniques independently

The Legacy

This pilot project demonstrates the strength of arts and non-arts partners working together to achieve positive change. There is potential for it to inform future business strategy for both NDCWales and Cartrefi Cymru and this is being explored. It has provided valuable learning for all involved, established a framework for future delivery and demonstrated how dance/movement can support personal wellbeing alongside a high-pressured care sector role.

Website and Social Media Links

The short film helps share the beneficial outcomes of the project, as well as emphasising the need for employers to prioritise staff wellbeing. It also highlights the potential and importance of arts and health partnership working, going forward post pandemic National Dance Company of Wales (NDC Wales) Home | National Dance Company Wales ( Cartrefi Cymru Cooperative Limited Learning disability support provider in Wales. ( NAPA NAPA Activities - Supporting Care Services to Prioritise Wellbeing (

Contact Details

Becky Wright

Tags: Dance, Health, Care sector, Covid, Stress, Self care, Wales, Wellbeing

Moving Beyond Compliance