A woman who wrote a moving play about dementia has been shortlisted for a top award.
Karin Diamond, of Cardiff, will receive a bronze, silver or gold award during the Wales Care Awards, which will take place at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 21.
Karin, the artistic director of the Cardiff-based Arts in Health charity Re-Live, has been nominated for the Sir Bryn Terfel Foundation Award for Promoting the Arts in Social Care, sponsored by the Pendine Arts and Community Trust.
The host for the evening will be the popular tenor, Wynne Evans, best known for playing Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
The bilingual play, called Belonging/Perthyn, follows the lives of two families as they discover that love and laughter don’t have to stop because of dementia. It provides a moving and inspirational insight into the hidden lives of families affected by dementia.
Karin, who has worked in theatre, film and television for two decades and co-founded Re-Live 16 years ago, said: “Re-Live runs a creative group in Cardiff for people living with dementia and their families. It’s the stories of our group members that inspired me to write Belonging, and the play is a testament to their courage and determination.
“Belonging also addressed the needs of Welsh language speakers living with dementia by dramatising their need to communicate in the language of their choice. It is so important for us as a Welsh community to be considerate and inclusive of all people living with dementia”
Belonging/Perthyn won two Wales Theatre Awards for Best Director (Peter Doran) and Best Actor (Llion Williams). The play toured theatres and arts venues around Wales in 2016 & 2018 and was performed at the Bealtaine Festival in Ireland.
Karin was nominated for the Wales Care Awards by the Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly Workforce Development Service which supports the social care sector to train, develop, and qualify staff and volunteers.
Belonging/Perthyn was written for both general theatre audiences, and as dementia training for health and social care professionals.
She said: “Over the years, as I’ve had the privilege of meeting and training social care workers and heard their experiences of working with people living with dementia and the huge challenges they face every day. Their stories informed and inspired Belonging.
“To be able to present the play to social care workers and share with them not only best practice in dementia care, but also to show that they are heard, celebrated and valued was really special”
Karin has trained over 5,000 social care workers in Wales using the arts as a tool to explore best practice and feels this dynamic and practical way of learning allows trainees to hold on to new information, new skills and build confidence.
Karin said: “I believe that learning through the arts supports a deeper change in attitudes and greater compassion for people living with dementia than more traditional training methods.”
Re-Live’s training is cited as an example of best practice in the Good Work: A Dementia Learning and Development Framework for Wales: Social Care Wales, NHS Wales, Public Health Wales, Welsh Government, 2016 A Dementia Learning and Development Framework for Wales.
Re-Live, in partnership with The Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly Workforce Development Service have received a grant from the Arts Council of Wales to support a new bilingual project which develops self-care strategies for social care workers through the arts.
Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the aim of the Wales Care Awards was to recognise the unstinting and remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.
He said: “The social care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are people who go the extra mile for others.
“During the Covid crisis, this fantastic workforce rose magnificently to the challenge, putting their own lives on the line to do everything they possibly could to safeguard the people for whom they provide care.
“Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for many other people to realise how important and how significant our social care workforce is.
“Their incredible contribution was summed up best in the powerful and emotive words of the song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, which was set to the famous tune of Men of Harlech. The message that the diolch should last forever is one that we should never forget.
“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards people need and never recognise the value of people who need care in society.
“All the nominees deserve to be lauded and applauded and it’s a real pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists.
“I congratulate all the individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and professionalism. Every one of them should be proud of their achievement.
“They are Wales’s finest.”