Áit Eile brainstorming session.

Áit Eile is a new creative arts hub for young people living with mental health difficulties in Louth and Meath. The hub is being developed by Creative Spark, Centre for Creativity and Innovation in Dundalk, in collaboration with Louth Meath Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), artist and art therapist Jenny Slater, and Dr Aine McHugh, Programme Director of the BSc in Mental Health Nursing at Dundalk Institute of Technology.

Young people aged 13 to 18 living with mental health difficulties will work alongside the project partners to co-produce and develop the hub. The project has received funding from the Creative Ireland Nurture Fund, a new initiative from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media that aims to enable children from often seldom heard cohorts to develop projects that can nurture their creative passions and ignite their creative potential.

Áit Eile will support young people with mental health difficulties attending local CAMHS services, providing them with opportunities to work with professional artists from a wide variety of sectors to learn new skills and help their overall wellbeing, happiness and sense of belonging in their own communities. Throughout the project the team will provide a welcoming and creative space for participants to voice and express themselves through art.

Through engagement with professional artists in regular art projects occurring weekly during school term time, young people will explore creative activities such as product and brand design, mural painting, print making, sculpture and many other artistic mediums, to be decided upon by the young people themselves.

The initial steps will see the establishment of a young people’s Ambassador Group at the hub’s HQ in Creative Spark Dundalk. This Ambassador Group will work alongside the staff team in designing how Áit Eile will be developed, produced, and programmed over the two-year duration of the fund. A new monthly artist in-residence drop-in programme will also be delivered across Louth Meath CAMHS to help build relationships that will assist and support more young people attending CAMHS services to get involved in the artistic projects happening at Creative Spark.

The team’s proposal was greatly informed by work carried out with young service users during a previous Spark funded programme ‘What Matters To You CAMHS?’ in which staff learnt that having a good consistent relationship with the person you are working with is of key importance to young people. The programme will offer attendees and past attendees of Louth Meath CAMHS services the opportunity to learn new skills, build friendships and express themselves through creative means.

The Áit Eile team believe this project will reduce overall feelings of isolation and marginalisation that can so often be a part of young peoples’ lives.

If you or someone you know is attending Louth or East-Meath CAMHS and would like further information on Áit Eile, please contact Gráinne Murphy: grainne@creativespark.ie | 042 938 5745.



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