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Celebration at Schull

Months of meetings, discussions, planning, writing, and re-writing came to fruition last Friday morning at the launch of the Arts for Health Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028 at Schull Community Hospital. Residents, artists, partners, and staff all working side-by-side on the programme came together to celebrate the occasion with inspiring speeches, a lively music session, and a delicious afternoon tea to top it off! 

As visitors arrived in the lobby, chatting with old friends and being introduced to new ones, Arts for Health musicians Liz Clark, Eva Coyle, and Ecki Krupp led an interactive and collaborative music workshop with the residents of the hospital. They traveled the world from their chairs; singing songs from the American countryside and the Scottish highlands, with a few more local tunes thrown in for good measure. 

Attendees filed in, settling into the hospital’s comfortable Day Room, and admiring the panoramic view of Schull’s beautiful bay stretching across the horizon just outside the window. Director of Nursing at Schull Community Hospital, Ms Róisín Walsh, opened the event, warmly welcoming the small crowd that filled the space. She spoke about the lasting impact of the programme, and the benefits experienced by its participants.

Foot-tapping, eyes smiling, voices singing, hands clapping, friends chatting, the joy of music, song, stories, painting – clearly captures how enriching this programme is for all who participate.”

A selection of heartfelt speeches by Deputy Mayor Cllr. John Healy and Head of Primary Care, Ms Priscilla Lynch (CKCH), followed. They captured the essence of the programme through their words, and welcomed the beginning of a new Arts for Health chapter. The event was attended by many prominent figures including Head of Older People, Ms Jackie Daly (CKCH), local TDs Ms Holly Cairns, Mr Michael Collins, and Mr Christopher O’Sullivan, representatives from the programme’s partners (Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, Cork ETB, Cork County Council, The Arts Council), and members of the Artist’s team. 

One highlight of the day was hearing how the residents themselves feel about the programme. Musician Liz Clark conducted short interviews with three participants, and they explained in their own words what they gained from the music and art workshops facilitated by the Arts for Health programme. It was an honest and touching moment that transformed the Strategic Plan from a paper document to real people’s lived experience. 

Uillinn Programme Manager, Ms Justine Foster, closed the event by thanking everyone involved, in particular mentioning the dedicated Artist team who share their skills, time, and talent in order to keep the programme running. 

The catering team at Schull Community Hospital went above and beyond providing a wonderful spread of sandwiches and skewers, cakes and pies, which were enjoyed by all. The room filled with chatter and laughter, while Ecki played a soft Turlough O’ Carolan tune on acoustic guitar beneath it all. The launch of the Strategic Plan 2023 – 2028 was a resounding success – now it’s time to put it into action!