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Virtual ‘Cwtsh’ festival to celebrate local creativity and support wellbeing

Credit: Caerphilly Council

Creative partners and community organisations have been working with the Integrated Wellbeing Network in Caerphilly County Borough to create an exciting programme of virtual creative activities to support people’s wellbeing in the area and to mark World Mental Health Day on 10th October 2020.

The CWTSH festival launched on August bank holiday weekend with activities at two of Caerphilly’s outdoor attractions which visitors were able to enjoy safely as they followed COVID guidelines including social distancing.

NONaffArt organised a fantastic 2-day outdoor art exhibition at Cwmcarn Forest including demonstrations from local artists working with textiles, sculpture, and ceramics. Director Tania Bryan said their team was pleased to see so many happy faces. “It was heart-warming and something our community definitely needed after such a tough time.  Our aim was to improve wellbeing through creativity by reaching members of the public who perhaps wouldn’t normally attend an indoor exhibit. It was a huge success and we cannot wait to do this again in future. We are very thankful to Cwmcarn Forest and the CWTSH Festival for the opportunity”

Over at Parc Cwm Darran, ‘Take Five’ enabled visitors to reflect on how walking in our green spaces supports the five ways to wellbeing.  The self-guided trail, organised by Head4Arts with Caerphilly’s Countryside and Landscape team, highlighted the importance of connecting with nature, exploring sensory experiences, and taking notice of the things we may have missed.

Rock painting provided another chance to be inspired by nature and get creative with the artwork added to a wayside “art gallery” of foraged materials framed with sticks. Visitors were also moved by the opportunity to commemorate the loss of loved ones by contributing to “The Circle of Love” – an arts installation of symbolic bottles of tears bearing names and messages.  One couple said “This our first outing since coming out of shielding, and it’s a lovely idea to get us back into feeling comfortable about being outside again. This feels like a gentle introduction – and a wellbeing theme is exactly what is needed.”

Head4Arts and NoNaffArt are amongst the many organisations offering activities as part of the main Virtual CWTSH Festival taking place between 8th and 10th October.

It’s going to be a busy and exciting programme! Whether you fancy trying a new craft activity, joining an online dance session, or being part of a remote singalong, there will be plenty of different free creative and arts activities for all ages that can be booked online. There’s even the chance to take part in Dementia Friends training and go on a virtual memory walk.

In the evenings, we will be showcasing the talent of our communities through Friday Night Open Mic online, organised by music enterprise RecRock, and screencasting some of the fantastic projects that have taken place during lockdown including films, poetry, dance, quick art tutorials and even some bedtime stories.
David Llewellyn, the Integrated Wellbeing Network Lead in Caerphilly emphasised the festival’s aims: “Being creative is important in supporting and strengthening our wellbeing, even more so in these difficult times. The activities will provide an opportunity for everyone to be involved in some way.”

For more information about the CWTSH Festival and to book into activities, please check our social media and online platforms and save the date:  8th– 10thOctober 2020!