A social care organisation is celebrating an awards double for its commitment to enriching people’s lives through the arts.
Pioneering Pendine Park, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, was named Business of the Year at the prestigious Arts and Business Cymru Awards.
The award was presented by acclaimed Welsh actress Sian Phillips during a glittering ceremony at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff.
Proprietor Mario Kreft MBE also picked up the Arts, Business and Health award in recognition of the firm’s partnerships with the arts to support the mental and emotional wellbeing of its clients and staff.
There too were Mario’s wife, Gill, who has been a key figure behind Pendine Park’s success, and Sarah Edwards who became the first artist in residence in a Welsh care home when she was appointed around 20 years ago.
This was the third time for Pendine Park to be honoured by Arts and Business Cymru.
Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, who was also at the prize-giving ceremony, said: “Pendine Park is a shining light in the world of social care and I am delighted they have been rightly declared Business of the Year.
“Their commitment to the arts is truly magnificent and has raised the bar for the rest of the social care sector.
“The vision for Pendine Park’s inspirational use of the arts comes directly from Mario and Gill and is enriching people’s lives on a daily basis.
“Of course, their success would not have been possible without the dedication of their talented team, including the artist in residence Sarah Edwards, who have turned their vision into a life-enhancing reality.”
Pendine Park runs seven specialist care homes in Wrexham, dedicating individual homes to areas including dementia, brain injury and nursing care.
The firm also operates a domiciliary care company and a training company, and all told employs more than 600 people.
That figure is set to increase later this year when Pendine Park opens a new £7 million centre of excellence for dementia care that’s being built on the site of the former Bryn Seiont community hospital in Caernarfon, in Gwynedd.
Ultimately, the bilingual Bryn Seiont Newydd centre will create 100 new jobs and provide respite and day care in addition to the 71 beds for the people living there.
There are also plans to build 16 companion living apartments as part of a second phase of the development.
The company has developed partnerships with the renowned Hallé orchestra, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and North Wales International Music Festival, which have demonstrated the company’s commitment to investing in the creative arts and providing more people with access to experience the arts across North Wales.
Collaborating with the Hallé, Pendine Park provides music activity to its care home residents while training staff to facilitate arts sessions as therapeutic activity.
Its partnership with the orchestra also includes music workshops, involving residents of the care homes and pupils from local schools, culminating in a performance at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod’s Children’s Day.
Pendine Park has doubled its sponsorship of the North Wales International Music Festival and now provides almost 2,000 people, including those in care homes, hospices and deprived communities, the opportunity to experience high quality, live music.
The company’s belief in the power of the arts to support and enrich people lives was described as inspirational by the independent awards judges, who praised it as a “model of excellence”.
Mario said: “We are delighted that Pendine Park has been honoured by Arts and Business Cymru.
“The awards are the ideal 30th anniversary present for Pendine Park. None of what we have achieved would have been possible without the fantastic contribution of my wife Gill whose expertise, energy and creativity have provided foundation for everything we have done.
“We are passionate about enhancing the quality of life for our residents and our domiciliary care clients through our enrichment programme which wholeheartedly embraces the arts as means of reaching out to people.”
Rachel Jones, chief executive of A&B Cymru, said: “Pendine Park is a fantastic company which has a clear focus and a genuine commitment to the arts.
“The company continually demonstrates the positive impact that the arts can have on business and I hope its partnerships inspire many more companies to embrace the creative sector.”