OLDER people in Herefordshire will soon benefit from a range of drama and dance projects after the county's centre for the arts received a generous grant.

The Courtyard in Hereford has been awarded £71,000 from the Henry Smith Charity to continue and develop its delivery of arts and older people’s projects.

Ten-week residencies will focus on drama and dance art-forms, and they will be delivered across various settings including those in day care, residential care, nursing care, and other community settings.

Alice Saunders, arts and older people’s project coordinator at the Courtyard, said: “The funding secured from Henry Smith will ensure the Courtyard’s vital work can continue to benefit more older people across Herefordshire, who do not have the same opportunities to access the arts.

There have been many significant benefits reported from those who have been involved in our existing programme - these include a reduction in the feeling of isolation and an improved quality of life.

"By providing people with the opportunity to take part in social arts activities, not only allows people to form new social networks, but often allows people to take part in something that they may have never tried before, and this can be a very empowering experience.”

The funding will also go towards the productions of more intergenerational projects, using The Courtyard’s Youth Theatre and other local schools and colleges, as well as developing links with new partners such as sheltered housing.

The charity is a large grant making body which funds projects and initiatives dealing with social inequality and economic disadvantage.