A VITAL five figure funding boost will help Hereford’s Courtyard Centre for the Arts keep up key projects.

Today (Tuesday) the centre has confirmed  that  £71k is coming its way from the Henry Smith Charity to continue and develop the delivery of – and staffing for - Arts & Older people’s projects.

The Henry Smith Charity is a large grant making charity that fund projects and initiatives that deal with social inequality and economic disadvantage.

For the Courtyard, that £71k will cover the cost of ten week residencies that focus on drama and dance art-forms, building on a similar training and development model that the centre successfully used for its Dementia Poetry Project. 

These drama and dance projects will be available to older people and delivered across various settings including those in day care, residential care, nursing care, and other community settings.

The funding will also help The Courtyard to produce more intergenerational projects through its youth theatre and local schools and colleges and strengthen links with new partners, particularly in the sheltered housing sector.

Two full time staff members will work on the projects on behalf of the charity.

Work done by the centre on arts and older people has already been stepped up to a national level and received funding of around £400,000 from the likes of Arts Council England, The Baring Foundation, Shaw healthcare and the Henry Smith Charity.

Alice Saunders, Arts & Older People’s Project Coordinator at The Courtyard, said the new funding will ensure that “vital work” can continue for older people 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," said Alice.

"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,” she said.