A group of talented tenants have put on their first art and craft exhibition.
Their work went on show at the Older Persons’ Day organised by housing association Cartrefi Conwy at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.
The display was produced by members of the new art and creativity group set up at Cysgod y Gogarth independent living complex which is managed by Cartrefi Conwy.
The We Can Discover group was established by Trine Moore, after tenants completed a reminiscence art project with local artist Ticky Lowe.
Trine said: “I set up the group in September as I believe people of all ages are incredibly talented and looking for an outlet to release their hidden gifts, and that’s what the group is about.
“We would love to welcome new members and anybody who’s interested can even just pop by for a cup of tea.
“We meet on Wednesdays and we are just developing the idea but we already have around 10 members who attend regularly.
“It’s all about having fun and enjoying time together and exploring what creative talents we have while, of course, having a cuppa and a chat..
“So far we have made memory boxes and drawings as a way of kick-starting the creative process and inspiring people to think about their lives in a creative way. We work together and help each other.
“The idea is we will go out on trips to the theatre, write poetry or stories as well as draw, paint and do craft work. The long-term idea is to have Cartrefi Conwy and Llandudno creative ambassadors.”
Tenant Ronald White, 84, of Maes Cwstennin in Llandudno Junction, says the new creative group is something he really enjoys.
He said: “I love it. We do painting and drawing, whatever takes your fancy. I go for the two hours every week. I like drawing anything really, especially animals and wildlife. I made a papier-mâché mackerel to remind me of how much I enjoyed fishing.
“The mackerel is in a cardboard box that I made and painted. Doing art work is relaxing and it’s good to get with friends and have a chat.”
The event was also part of Cartrefi Conwy’s 10th anniversary celebration and had a Hollywood theme.
Tenants were treated to lunch after stunning performances by London-based song and dance troupe the Gatsby Girls and Boys and a spectacular acrobatic performance from Conwy circus performer Daisy Williams as well as performances by singing Ysgol John Bright pupils.
There were also presentations to Renee Owen, from Llanrwst, who was crowned as this year’s Outstanding Neighbour, and Gordon Jones, from Llanrwst who was named as Older Persons’ Champion.”
Meanwhile, Elaine and Steve Davis of Y Fron, Old Colwyn were voted Volunteers of the Year and Rose Haycock, from Cysgod y Gogarth, was presented with the Judge’s Hero Award.
Circus acrobat Daisy Williams, whose mum works for Cartrefi Conwy, had a dual role at the event.
She works for a charity called The Reader which aims to stop social isolation by bringing people together and distributed information to tenants.
In her spare time, she is involved with the Bangor-based circus troupe, Syrcas Cimera, and she also donned her sparkly stage outfit before taking to the aerial hoop high above the Venue Cymru stage to entertain the audience.
Daisy said: “I’m giving information to Cartrefi Conwy tenants but I was also asked to put on a show which I was delighted to do.
“I’ve always been interested in circus and went on a circus course. A ringmaster was there and, a year ago, asked me to join up. I literally ran away with the circus and performed around the UK and Ireland with Russells International Circus and Circus Vegas.
“I really enjoyed it. I performed on the aerial hoop, silks and in the Wall of Death, the most dangerous act in the circus.
“I packed up the circus life for family reasons and have come back to Conwy. I’ve really enjoyed what is a wonderful event today. It’s amazing to see so many older people having a great time and so full of life.”
Janet Finch-Saunders, who officially opened the event, told the packed audience how honoured she was to be there.
She said: “It’s fantastic to be asked to open the event and help celebrate Cartrefi Conwy’s 10th anniversary. Cartrefi Conwy is a wonderful and inclusive housing association that really is creating communities to be proud of.”
Bill Hunt, a tenant, board member and chair of the Operations Committee, said: “It’s wonderful to see the effort that Cartrefi Conwy has put into today. It’s clear our older tenants have had a wonderful day and enjoyed some amazing entertainment.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Gwynne Jones, the managing director of Cartrefi Conwy.
He said: “As well as celebrating our 10th anniversary, it’s entirely appropriate the event was held on f International Older Persons Day.
Nerys Veldhuizen, our older person’s engagement coordinator and her team have put a huge amount of effort into the event and it has certainly paid off.
He added: “We have launched our MyCartrefi app at today’s event meaning tenants, who wish to, can make payments, report a repair, see their statements or just get in touch over the phones.
“We are constantly trying to make life easier for our tenants and make it easier to engage with the staff they need to.”
Nerys Veldhuizen, Cartrefi Conwy’s older person’s engagement coordinator, said: “It’s been a wonderful day. It’s been lovely to see so many people getting out of the house, making new friends and having fun.
“We take loneliness as a serious threat to the health and wellbeing of the elderly. Events like this can link people up and promote the activities that are happening in the area.
“Our strapline of Live Life Love Life United Against Lonliness perfectly sums up what this day is all about..