Amgueddfa Blog: Health, Wellbeing and Amgueddfa Cymru

This week (8–13 June) is Carers Week, which aims to recognise the contribution that unpaid carers make to families and communities throughout the UK. Carers Trust estimates this that this unpaid care would cost £530 million per day across the UK, if it had to be provided by health and social care services.

Many carers face financial difficulties, social isolation, or poor health as a result of their caring role. During the pandemic the pressures on carers has increased as many of the services on which they rely, such as community/day centres or respite services, have been closed. In addition, the total number is estimated to have risen by 50% (Carers UK), meaning Wales may now have as many as 600,000 adult and young carers.

Amgueddfa Cymru conducted a survey towards the end of 2020 to ask carers what our museums could offer. You can find out more about why we we want to provide activities or events specifically for carers, how we think museums can help and what led to the survey, in this blog post from last year.

Responses came from both adult and young carers and were fairly consistent in the activities that people were most interested in:

  • craft/art activities that people could participate in,
  • social time with other carers, and
  • information or talks that would be useful to carers.

About two thirds of carers were interested in activities that they could attend on their own, and two thirds in activities they could attend with the person they care for. (One third of respondents were interested in both.) There was interest in both online and in-person events.

We designed a three-month trial of online carer day sessions which started in May this year. Each day, on the first Tuesday of the month, has two sessions: 2.30–3.30pm for all carers of any age, and 5–5.30pm for young carers under 26. If you are a carer and would like to attend one of the sessions on Tuesday 6 July you can book a free ticket here.

So far sessions have included:

  • drawing activities (no artistic talent needed),
  • why and how to create a playlist for someone you care for,
  • the experiences of the Amgueddfa Cymru Producers running LambCam, and
  • discussion about our Objects of Comfort initiative.

Objects of Comfort shares stories of what objects bring people solace and comfort, and the programme includes discussion sheets that carers can use with people they care for. Sometimes conversation can dry up or become repetitive if you’re with someone all the time; carers have reported how the sheets have led to some great out-of-the-ordinary discussions. You can find out more about OOC and the discussion sheets here.

We have also created and recruited for a new Support Volunteer role to help us in supporting carers and others in getting involved with Museum events, collections and activities. The volunteers who have applied have some great experience and skills and once their training is completed they will enable us to offer an even better welcome and range of activities for those who would benefit from extra support.

One aspect of the Carer Day sessions that has proved harder than we’d expected is letting people know that they are on. So many of the places where carers would normally spend time have been closed and the organisations who work to support carers have themselves been under much greater pressure during the pandemic. Even if you’re not a carer yourself, you probably know one of the 600,000 people in Wales who are – why not let them know about our Carer Days, and maybe ask if there’s anything you can do to help them during these difficult times? Thank you.

If you’d like to find out more about the Carer Days you can do so here.

If you’d like to tell us what you think about the carer days, even if you haven’t been able to attend one, you can complete an anonymous short survey here.

The Carers Wales report State of Caring 2019 estimated that last year there were 400,000 carers in Wales. The 2011 Census gave the overall figure as 370,000 or 12% of the population, with 30,000 of those carers under the age of 25 and it noted that Wales has the highest proportion of carers under 18 in the UK. These figures all refer to unpaid carers, who are supporting an adult or child with a disability, physical or mental illness, or affected by substance misuse. It does not include those working in paid caring roles.

It is estimated that most of us, three out of five, will become a carer at some point in our lives.

Given these huge numbers and the fact that most of us are, or will be, affected why don’t we hear more about carers? One reason could be that carers are too busy being carers. I have been a carer myself and before joining Amgueddfa Cymru I spent 30 years working in health and social care services, in which time I would estimate that I worked with a few thousand carers. My experience and extensive studies show that many carers experience loneliness and social isolation, poor mental or physical health themselves, and financial pressure, as a result of their caring role.

So what does this mean for Amgueddfa Cymru? One of the goals for our 10-year strategy, due to be published in spring 2021, is that we are relevant to everyone and accessible to everyone; another is a focus on health and wellbeing for all. Our community engagement programme has a very wide range of ways for people who have support needs (due to health, disability or other circumstances) to get involved in museum activities as a visitor or through our volunteering and learning programmes. We certainly welcome carers via these initiatives and there are many carers who have got involved, but as yet we don’t have very much that is specifically designed around the needs of carers.

Looking ahead to next year, the Volunteering team want to provide some opportunities designed specifically for carers. This may involve recruiting volunteers who can support carers in visiting our museums, or, it may mean designing volunteering opportunities for carers that work around caring demands. At the moment we imagine a mix of attendance options – some opportunities for carers to attend or join something on their own, others where carers can do so with the person they provide care for. 

The usual image of carers is of someone older, caring either for an elderly parent or for their spouse or partner. There are many who fit that description, but there are also more young adult or child carers than most people realise and the demands of caring risk an adverse impact on their education, development, and overall quality of life. We are therefore planning to include some opportunities that are specifically aimed at young carers.

People from all communities face caring responsibilities, which may in some cases be made even harder by systemic discrimination and disadvantage. My own experience of caring for my Iraqi grandmother was that the support services available genuinely intended to welcome everyone but were nearly all set up around the habits, lifestyles and life experiences of a White British population. The food and activities offered, and life events discussed (for instance in Reminiscence therapy), held no relevance or comfort for her whatsoever. I’m not suggesting this gives me any insight into another person’s experience, it doesn’t, but it does give an insight into the limitations of a single approach. 

So we know we will need a nuanced and varied approach, and this is where we would like your help. We have created a survey which sets out some of our ideas so far, but we also need to hear from you if you are a carer or have been a carer in the past. If you’re not, we’d be grateful if you could help us by sharing this with carers you know.

The survey launches on Carers Rights Day, 26 November, and on the same day we’re also planning a live online discussion (with a free event ticket for every carer who joins us). You can find the details of how to participate, and also the ‘taster’ sessions on the same day, via this web page: https://museum.wales/getinvolved/carers

Keep Wales Tidy has unveiled this year’s Green Flag Award winners – the international mark of a quality park or green space. 

The National Waterfront, Swansea has achieved the prestigious Green Flag Community Award in recognition of its dedicated volunteer involvement, high environmental standards and commitment to delivering great quality green space.

The Green Flag Community Award is designed to help promote quality green spaces that are accessible to all.  They are a great way to highlight the work that the fabulous volunteers have done, and to show that we are using the museums garden to grow produce that is donated to groups in need across the city. 

GRAFT volunteers taking a break from harvesting at the gardens at the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea

In 2018, the National Waterfront Museum transformed the Museum's once industrial courtyard into a beautiful, sustainable, organic growing environment; creating an edible landscape to encourage participation and conversation around land use, food and sustainability in an accessible and empowering way. It was created and continues to be managed by GRAFT, the Museum’s land and educational project, and it forms a permanent piece of green infrastructure within Swansea City Centre. The project is also a socially engaged work of art by artist Owen Griffiths, and was originally commissioned as part of Now the Hero / Nawr Yr Arwr in 2018 funded by 1418NOW as part of a huge UK wide cultural project commemorating the first World War. Today, GRAFT works with community groups from a wide range of backgrounds across the city, who came together, to garden, grow, share food and conviviality.

Speaking on behalf of the Waterfront Museum’s GRAFT team, Senior Learning, Participation and Interpretation Officer, Zoe Gealy said: “The GRAFT team at The National Waterfront Museum are delighted to have received this Green Flag, it really highlights the fabulous work our amazing volunteers have put in since we started in 2018 and is such a great accolade during a particularly challenging year for us all.  We look forward to many more years of growing and developing our green space and will continue to create learning and volunteering opportunities, as well as donating produce to the fantastic charities across the city who are providing services for those in need”.   

The National Waterfront Museum is one of a family of seven museums and collections centres under the banner of Amgueddfa Cymru  - National Museum of Wales, which offers free entry thanks to the support of the Welsh Government. Together, they house the nation's art, history, heritage and science collections, which will continue to grow so that they can be used and enjoyed by present and future generations.

127 community managed green spaces across the country have met the high standards needed to receive the Green Flag Community Award. This means that Wales still holds a third of the UK’s community Green Flag sites.

The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Independent green space experts volunteered their time in early autumn to judge applicant sites against eight strict criteria, including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: "The pandemic has shown just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. For many of us, they have been a haven on our doorstep, benefitting our health and well-being. The success of National Waterfront Museum in achieving the Green Flag Community Award is a testament to the volunteers who have maintained excellent standards under the most challenging circumstances this year. I’d like to congratulate and thank them all for their outstanding commitment.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website www.keepwalestidy.cymru/greenflag

 

 

 

On Saturday 17th October, our museum marks 15 years since opening its doors. And as we’re all in lockdown around here, and probably in need of cheering up, we wondered whether you’d like to share in some of our celebrations? Birthdays need a cake, so we’re inviting you cake bakers and decorators to get creative and see what of our museum will inspire a delicious birthday cake! We’ve a £50 voucher to spend in our National Museums Shop for the winning baker!

National Waterfront Museum turns 15 on 17th October 2020

It could be inspired by our building, one of our exhibits or an event you remember well. Just let your creativity run wild, then get your aprons and your thinking caps on! Make, bake and decorate a 15th birthday cake for the National Waterfront Museum and send us a picture via twitter or Facebook by 3pm on Saturday 17th October. See details below.

Our museum captain these 15 years, Steph Mastoris will judge the entries and we’ll announce the winner on Tuesday 20th October. The baker of the best birthday cake will win a £50 National Musuems voucher to spend in our shops.

You can post pictures of your cake on Twitter, making sure to include @The_Waterfront in your tweet, or to our special Birthday Cake Competition Facebook Event site https://www.facebook.com/events/352694139397072

Good luck - ready....steady.....bake!!

 

Terms & Conditions
· The Promoter is: Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Cymru / the National Museum of Wales (Charity Registration number: 525774) whose registered office is at Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP.
· Employees of the National Museum of Wales or their families, or anyone else connected in any way with the competition, shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
· There is no entry fee to the competition and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
· The promoter will only consider one entry per participating Facebook or Twitter account.
· Entries which put entrants, staff or any other persons at risk will not be eligible for this competition
· The Promoter is not responsible for any physical injury or harm to entrants or any other persons in the course of participating in this competition
· It is the Entrant’s responsibility to ensure that they take necessary precautions to guard their own safety, and the safety of any other persons present, while participating in this competition
· Closing date for entry will be 17 October 2020 at 15.00. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
· No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for any reason. Proof of posting is not proof of receipt.
· The Promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of any event outside of the Promoter's control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the Promoter.
· The Promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
· No cash alternative to the prizes will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
· Winners will be chosen on merit by a representative of the Promoter.
· The winners will be notified via Facebook or Twitter by 21 October. If the winners cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 72 hours of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
· The Promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected, or to where it should be posted
· The Promoter's decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
· The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by UK Law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of the UK.
· By entering this competition, an entrant releases Facebook and twitter from any or all liability in connection with this contest
· All entrants agree that National Museum of Wales can display and share their entries on their website and social media channels, with name credit where the information is available. Submitted entries will remain the intellectual property of the entrants.
· Winners agree to post an acknowledgement Facebook or twitter, mentioning @amgueddfacymru in their message.
· The winner agrees to the use of their name, likeness and entry in any publicity material.
· Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant's prior consent.
· Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
· This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook or any other social network. You are providing your personal information to the Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales and not to any other party. The information provided will be used in conjunction with the Data Protection Act.
 

Forums were established early in the Creu Hanes Making History project at St. Fagans to help us develop our participatory practice. One of these was the Informal Learning Forum, its focus was adult and community learning and involvement. Partners on this forum were largely involved in these areas of work and came together to support us to develop an adult learning programme at the Museum.

During the project the Forums played different roles, and some were more active than others. The Informal Learning Forum initially worked with us a lot and subsequently throughout the life of the project they helped to shape the scope of Adult Learning at the Museum.

In 2015 when I took on the role working with the forum we began to revisit their role and revitalise their involvement in not only the project but in Adult Learning throughout the Museum, in addition to contributing to the development of the Wellbeing programme.

Since then the forum, now known as the Adult Learning Forum, has gone from strength to strength. They have supported us through the project and with new and ongoing work. Many of the original partners are still with us after the completion of the project in 2018, and new partners have since joined, adding to the diversity and scope of the group.

Here’s a flavour of some of the work we’ve done together over the years and what the partners have to say about it:

“Llandaff 50+ felt extremely privileged to be asked to join the Adult Learners’ Forum and attend its quarterly meetings at St Fagans National History Museum.

Our charity’s aims are to help to ease the problems of loneliness and social isolation amongst older people and to encourage them to organise, and take part in, activities and social events.  So, the opportunity to not only work with St Fagans, but also other local charity groups and organisations was an opportunity not to be missed.  Contributing to discussions about facilities and opportunities for older people during the refurbishment of the Museum provoked many suggestions from our members about the problems of old age.

It’s so easy to become centred on your own organisation and not see what else is happening in the voluntary and charitable sectors.  Although we have the opportunity to give an update on our own activities in the Forum, it is always amazing to find out what else is happening.  And we also get the chance to meet new people from all over Cardiff and the Vale, people helping others to improve their lives.  Our Treasurer said ‘I didn’t realise there was so much going on, people are doing wonderful things’ after her first meeting.

And we hear of opportunities to volunteer, too.  We cherish the memories of cataloguing the books from the library at the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute, and then seeing them back on the shelves, where they belong.  The books on engineering, that expanded the mind, children’s classics, that entertained at bedtime, and even a few that were a little risqué (and popular, too, judging by the stamps on the inside cover!).  And an enjoyable lunch, after each session, formed a friendship group that still remains.

The Forum has made Llandaff 50+ feel part of the Museum, and our organised visit and tour had a record attendance from members, all re-visiting with new friends, and enjoying the explanations of knowledgeable guides.  Many returned with family later in the year to tell of their learning.

We are also able to pass on information, learned at the Forum, to our members.  Many attended Adult Learners’ Week events and enjoyed learning new crafts, and remembering old ones.  New walks and leaflets are explained during 50+ meetings, and visits encouraged.  

We hope that the Forum will continue and enable our small, but very active charity, to work with such an important and much-loved Museum into the future, for mutual benefit.” (Volunteer, Llandaff 50+)        

Oakdale Reinterpretation Project

The forum members were integral to the reinterpretation of Oakdale Workman’s Institute in 2015-16. The impact of their contribution saw the building reopen with a more participatory and user-friendly interpretation. This included developing resources for Welsh learners, those living with dementia, and individuals with sensory conditions.  You can now also access all the rooms of the institute, some of which were only viewable from the doorway prior to the reinterpretation work.

“In March 2016, as a member of Cardiff U3A’s Local History group, I became part of a re- interpretation project of Oakdale Miners Institute or ‘stute as locals called it. The project, which involved me in research of the building, built during the First World War and which remained a key educational and social centre for Oakdale miners and community through its reading room, meetings, library, concerts, films and dances for many years. This project culminated in the re-opening of the building in its centenary year, celebrated with a party for local people from Oakdale and for me by writing an article in the national U3A quarterly magazine ‘Third Age Matters’.” (Valerie Maidment, member of the Cardiff U3A).

Trialling Adult Learning at St Fagans

Forum members have been central to trialling courses and taster sessions at St Fagans over the past few years. We worked with local community partners Action Ely Caerau (ACE) to recruit volunteers to pilot our first accredited course in sewing skills in 2016. All participants were local to the area and faced barriers to participating in traditional learning opportunities. The course was integrally linked to the Museum, as the participants were making costumes for Museum staff to wear when delivering the Iron Age school session. The garments were based on a traditional pattern, and participants were guided through the techniques required to make them by the experienced tutor and expert historic garment seamstress Sally Pointer. None of the participants had previously sewn and they all left at the end of the 10-week course having not only achieved a qualification, but improved their confidence and interest in further learning.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with the National Museum of Wales at St Fagans, and they’ve become a hugely valued partner in the CAER Hidden Hillfort Project.  An example of the impact this partnership has made is found in our collaboratively organised sewing course.  Accredited by Agroed Cymru and run in partnership with Adult Learning Wales, the project built on the strengths of both organisations, with ACE recruiting participants from our local communities (and hosting the training at the local community hub) and the National Museum creating a welcoming environment, facilitating the training and arranging participant visits to St Fagans.  13 participants, all of whom faced barriers to learning and none of whom had sewed before, completed the course.  Outcomes included increased self-confidence and renewed interest in learning.  The replica Iron Age costumes they made are still used by the museum, so they’ve left their mark!  We love this kind of project and are enthusiastic participants in the Adult Learning Forum to ensure we can continue working with partners like the National Museum on precisely this kind of project well into the future.” Dave Horton, ACE Development Manager.

Adult Learners Week:

A key member of the Forum, the Learning and Work Institute, run the Adult Learners Week campaign across Wales every year. They have provided support when it comes to developing and delivering our programmes over the years and we have been regular contributors since 2015. We have tested activities and craft workshops, explored the potential of joint delivery and hosting courses, and ensured we’ve been able to provide opportunities to the participants of our partner organisations, as well as offering opportunities on a larger scale e.g. by holding an information fair in 2019. This year, for Adult Learners Week we have been proud to take part in this digital event, creating a programme of opportunities focused on making, crafting and creating.

Here’s a quote from a key partner Hafal, whose participants have trialled and taken part in workshops during previous Adult Learners Weeks and at different times throughout the year.

“I run a gardening project for groups of people at Hafal, the Mental Health Charity based inside St Fagans museum.       

Being part of the Adult Learners Forum has given me the fantastic chance to take groups to a variety of workshops held in the museum. The Decorative Copper workshop was a great success as was the Love spoon carving, and we worked for quite a few weeks on helping to thatch the Roundhouse building.

Finding out from other members of the forum about what they have going on in the community has also offered opportunities for us to attend different activities. One of these was the archaeological dig at the Ely Hillfort, where we were shown around the site being worked on and then got to see some of the artefacts that had been uncovered there.

This led to a workshop in the museum with the lead archaeologist, looking in more depth at what was found on the site and what it could tell us of the way people were living at that time, which was extremely interesting to the whole group.

There are many learning opportunities discussed at the forums, and I am able to inform my groups so that they can take up them opportunities if wanted.

Loveday is extremely knowledgeable and approachable, and very good at linking people together for mutual benefit. It has been a privilege to be part of the forum.” (Lesley, Recovery Practitioner, Hafal).

Hosting courses at St Fagans

Since the opening of the new facilities at St Fagans in 2017 we have worked hard with partners to establish opportunities for other organisations to bring their learning opportunities to the Museum. We have worked with Cardiff Met’s Widening Access Department who in 2019 bought a series of courses to the Museum e.g. Creative Writing and Complimentary Therapy. These courses used the Museum and its collection to draw inspiration and influence the content of the courses. This delivery partnership enables learners to experience a unique Welsh perspective on their learning experience.

Here’s what the Widening Access team at Cardiff Met have to say about the partnership:

“It has been our great pleasure to work collaboratively with St Fagans, enabling us to enrich courses by sharing the wonderful resources and expertise available at the Museum.  Tutors from the University are able to work with the staff at St Fagans to incorporate Welsh culture into their courses and the exhibits bring this to life for students.

By sharing resources, publicity and expertise the students benefit by a greater offer than without the partnership work.  We are also able to reach a wider community and are able to consult via the learning forum so that we have a better understanding of what the community would like to learn.

Finally it is great to be able to hold the courses in such fantastic buildings and have the support of all the staff who are always professional, friendly and most importantly provide a warm welcome.” (Jan Jones, Head of Widening Access, Cardiff Met).

We also work closely with Welsh for Adults, based within the School of Welsh at Cardiff University. We have hosted Sadwrn Siarad, a day of welsh language activities, in the summer for several years, but in 2019 we were able to offer them classroom space to bring Welsh evening courses to St Fagans. This was piloted in January 2019 when the first Entry 1 course started. Following its success two further courses started the following September, whilst the learners engaged on the first course progressed to Entry 2.

Here’s what the Welsh for Adults team at the School of Welsh have to say about the partnership:

“Mae Dysgu Cymraeg Caerdydd yn falch iawn o gael y cyfle i gyd-weithio â Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru. Ffurfiwyd y bartneriaeth drwy Fforwm Addysg Oedolion sy’n cael ei arwain gan Loveday Williams o’r Amgueddfa ac mae’r cyd-weithio rhyngom wedi mynd o nerth i nerth ers hynny. Yn Ionawr 2019, cynhaliwyd cwrs dysgu Cymraeg lefel Mynediad ar gyfer dechreuwyr yn yr Amgueddfa. Mae’r gwaith wedi dwyn ffrwyth ers hynny gan i ni ddarparu tri chwrs ym mis Medi 2019, cwrs dilyniant a dau gwrs lefel Mynediad i ddechreuwyr. Er i ni orfod oedi’r dysgu wyneb yn wyneb ym mis Mawrth eleni, mae’r holl gyrsiau wedi parhau’n rhithiol ac yn parhau ar-lein am 2020-2021. Felly er nad oes modd i ni gynnal dosbarthiadau yn Sain Ffagan ar hyn o bryd, mae’r Fforwm Addysg Oedolion yn ein galluogi ni i barhau i gyd-weithio a chynllunio at y cyfnod nesaf.” (Mari Rowlands, Dysgu Cymraeg Caerdydd)

“Learn Welsh Cardiff is delighted to have the opportunity to work with St Fagans National Museum of History. The partnership was formed through the Adult Learning Forum led by Loveday Williams from the Museum and the partnership has gone from strength to strength ever since. In January 2019, we held an Entry level Welsh course for beginners at the Museum. The work came to fruition when we provided three courses in September 2019, a progression course and two Entry level courses for beginners. Despite pausing all face-to-face learning back in March, all courses have continued virtually and will remain online for 2020-2021. So although we can't hold classes at St Fagans at the moment, the Adult Education Forum allows us to continue to work together and plan for the next period.” (Mari Rowlands, Learn Welsh Cardiff)

We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners, and establishing new ones in the future as we assess what our “new normal” will look like and how we can continue to operate and grow our adult learning offer.