Launch of Arts for Health 2023 - 2028 Strategy, Schull Community Hospital, 30 June 2023. Photo credit: Orla Lavelle Photography.

The inter-agency Arts for Health Partnership Programme in West Cork today celebrated the launch of its innovative new arts and health strategy at Schull Community Hospital with a creative twist as local musicians and artists, including Liz Clark and Eva Coyle, joined together to mark the occasion with residents, staff, and visitors.

Running since 2002, in collaboration with Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Cork Education and Training Board, and Cork County Council, the Arts for Health Partnership Programme provides year-round cultural and creative activities for residents of community hospitals, older people attending day care centres, and their family carers across West Cork.

The newly launched five-year strategy is aimed at improving the lives of older people and family carers in West Cork by nurturing and developing participants’ creative interests with one-to-one and group sessions in art, dance, storytelling, filmmaking, music and more.

The strategy focuses on increasing access to the programme and developing its artistic offering, providing an inclusive way of working to support the increasing number of people living with dementia across communities. The strategy also outlines actions to include creative supports for family and professional carers in healthcare, in the community and at home.

“Cork County Council is proud to partner with the HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Cork Education and Training Board and Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre on this nationally recognised arts, health and education partnership programme. Art is not just a form of expression or entertainment, but is also a powerful tool for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It has the remarkable ability to heal, inspire, and unite us as a community. I look forward to seeing the next chapter of the ‘Arts for Health’ programme bring positivity and new experiences to many more participants.” – Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Frank O’Flynn

HSE Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Head of Services for Primary Care and Older Persons were both present to represent the link between the community and hospital care that the arts programme offers for older persons and family carers across West Cork.

“Throughout the years, older persons across our communities, their family members, and professional carers have greatly benefited from this creative arts programme – most notably by increasing socialisation, improving memory, and enhancing relationships with their family members and the wider community. Uniquely, this programme encourages collaboration between the artists and the older person to help encourage self-expression in a safe and supportive setting.” – Ms Jackie Daly, Head of Older Person Services, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare

Arts for Health at Dunmanway Community Hospital, session with resident musician Lewis Barfoot 2022.

“As the programme marks its 20th year in our primary care centres and community hospitals, we celebrate the impact it has had on people across our communities to date; by placing patients at the centre of the programme we can ensure that they feel supported, included, and have the opportunity to learn and share in their life experiences in a meaningful manner.” – Ms Priscilla Lynch, Head of Primary Care, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare

Ms Bríd McAuliffe from Clonakilty, a participant on the new Creative Carers strand of the programme expressed her support, saying: “My husband is so happy after his music sessions and the joy it brings into our home is immeasurable. Long may this programme continue in West Cork.”

The full strategy is available to view on


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