A COMMUNITY project led by the county's leading arts organisation has been boosted by funding of nearly £350,000.

The £344,320 funding, from the Big Lottery Fund, will enable The Courtyard Trust to run a programme which aims to reduce isolation and improve the quality of older peoples’ lives through direct access to the arts.

The Creative Ageing project has been running in Herefordshire since 2010, working with more than 60 care homes and community groups to deliver high quality arts experiences including the flagship poetry project In The Pink, Dance Magic Dance (a dementia and dance project) and Friday Club (a monthly art group).

The new funding will be used for three years and will fund a range of projects across Herefordshire in care homes, community centres and at The Courtyard city centre venue.

Penny Allen, adult participation manager, said: “We are thrilled to have received funding from The Big Lottery to be able to continue our work with older people living in Herefordshire.

"Our innovative projects have creativity at their heart, and we believe there should be no age limit on people having new creative experiences.

"Over the last four years The Courtyard has worked with a broad range of people across the county, and this funding will allow us to extend that even further.”

Melanie Denning, fundraising manager, added that the Creative Ageing programme had been a great success, acknowledged in the three-year grant that has been awarded.

"We’re thrilled that this work will now continue," she said.

"The Courtyard still faces challenges in terms of its core funding, for example, in delivering the rest of our community arts projects and running this wonderful facility, after losing Herefordshire Council funding.

"But, as long as our wonderful members, supporters and customers continue to support us, we know we can and will meet this challenge."

Remember Me, a Creative Ageing event which raises awareness about dementia, will be taking place at The Courtyard on Thursday, May 19 from 11am to 3pm.