Image shown: Arts for Health Strategy

Arts for Health, an arts programme taking place in community hospitals and day care centres throughout West Cork, and managed by West Cork Arts Centre (WCAC), celebrated the launch of its three year strategy at an event in Clonakilty Community Hospital in December. The strategy was launched with screening of an animated film by filmmaker Jane Lee:

The strategy was officially launched by guest speaker Gabrielle O’Keefe, General Manager, HSE Cork who, on behalf of the HSE, stated that she was “pleased to be able to continue to support the project financially, in conjunction with the partners’ as ‘It has become an integral part of the health and social care environment for older people.”

Attending this event were senior figures from each of the partner agencies who also spoke of their support for this groundbreaking programme, which is set to continue to deliver quality arts experiences to over 400 older people in 11 locations in West Cork and to continue to employ at least ten artists and musicians over the next three years. The strategy sets out its aims for the period of 2013-2016.

With life expectancy in our society continuing to increase and more than 12% of our population over the age of 65, this programme is a positive action in response to these changes. The strategy in summary, includes maintaining the existing levels of service, responding to the changing needs of its service users, to support excellence through on-going competency development and maintaining and improving communications and advocacy.

Of the Arts for Health Programme, Cork County Council Arts Officer, Ian McDonagh observed that it helps to “shape a dynamic programme that enhances the lives of older people involved in the programme. The work done by Arts for Health has in turn helped to shape arts policy in Cork County Council and is now regarded as an excellent model of arts development, nationally.’” Ann O’Connor, Arts and Health Advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland commended the work of West Cork Arts Centre for coordinating the programme, in particular the work of Justine Foster, WCAC, Arts for Health Co-ordinator. Highlighting the uniqueness of the programme, she identified “The arts expertise and the co-ordination role is a marker for success.” Of the project as a whole, she praised the impact the programme will have on care settings nationally, “You’re making it work! It’s not just local any more.”

Arts for Health involves a very successful and effective partnership between WCAC, Cork Education Training Board, HSE and Cork County Council. Five Community Hospitals; Skibbereen, Schull, Dunmanway, Clonakilty, Castletownbere. Five Day Care Centres; Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Clonakilty, Castletownbere, Bantry, and Bantry General Hospital, Care of the Elderly Unit currently avail of the service managed by West Cork Arts Centre.

Click here to read the strategy.

Arts for Health Partnership is funded by West Cork Arts Centre, the HSE, Cork Education and Training Board, the Arts Council and Cork County Council.

The Arts for Health partnership gratefully acknowledges the local support towards the programme with special thanks to West Cork Older Peoples Network and Friends of the Day Care Centres.


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