Once Upon a Time toured to 3 care homes across South Wales as part of Gwanwyn Festival (creativity in older age) during May 2014.

We welcomed them in but didn’t know entirely what to expect. They opened our eyes to creative but simple ways of how to engage with residents who have dementia. We found the experience up-lifting, motivating and very positive, it improved the quality of communication for both staff and residents.

Manager of a care home


The Once Upon a Time team spent a week in each home delivering interactive, multisensory storytelling workshops for people with advanced dementia.

Alongside this the team delivered training to the care staff of the homes in using creative activity as a core tool in person-centred care. The care staff were trained in using multisensory techniques and non-verbal communication in working with their residents. They planned activities and on the last day they tried out some of their ideas with the residents.

At one home the management wanted to try out activities over lunchtime, and so the care staff planned a seaside themed lunch to include all staff and residents. Care staff carefully planned how they could involve a number of multi-sensory elements so that they could bring the near by beach of the beautiful Gower into the home. They made placemats with textured pictures of the seaside, they found hats and handkerchiefs for the residents to wear, they played seaside music, they put real seaweed and sand into jars that were left on the tables and gave a seaside aroma, and they served up fish and chips in takeaway boxes. The activity was a great success and enabled care staff and residents to play together.

To find out more about Spare Tyre's Once Upon a Timetraining programme for staff working with people with advanced dementia, please visit our Training section.