Art Activity in Mental Health Assessment Units for the Elderly


This case study is one of a number of action research projects managed by Engage Cymru focusing on engaging older people in art and gallery activities including within intergenerational projects. The projects took place between 2009–2012.

Project description

Art activities were offered in the Ablett Unit at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Rhyl and the Heddfan Unit at Wrexham Maelor Hospital both part of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB). These units are NHS inpatient mental health assessment services for older people. Both units had two wards and so four sets of participants were offered art activities. These ran for ten sessions of around two hours each in each ward. In one of the projects there was a break in the provision of several weeks over the Christmas period, in the other the sessions were consecutive weeks.

Galleries local to the units were Rhyl Library and Gallery and Oriel Wrecsam respectively. Whilst some consideration and effort was given to find ways to interact directly with the galleries, it didnʼt prove practical to arrange for patients to visit the galleries. However gallery staff visited the hospital and the artist sought to make links with exhibitions at the galleries. One of the galleries hosted an exhibition of the artwork produced and patients and their carers were invited to attend.


Written by Eirwen Malin on behalf of Engage Cymru
With an introduction by Tim Joss, Director of The Rayne Foundation
Type: Case Study
Published: September 2012
Language: English, Welsh