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What is Creative Carers?

Creative Carers was launched in 2022 to provide enjoyable social and creative engagement opportunities for family carers – people who provide care for a loved one in the home. Managed by Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre as part of Arts for Health Partnership, the aim is to better understand the experience of carers in the community and to design a programme of activities that caters to the creative and cultural interests and needs of its participants.

Creative Carers was delivered in four strands in 2022 to give the family carers different ways to access the arts:

  • Creative Carers at Uillinn – a activity workshop series exploring visual art techniques, held on Wednesday evenings at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre.
  • In the Picture – dementia friendly gallery tours for people living with dementia and their family or professional carers.
  • Creative Carers @Home – a series of 6 one-to-one creative sessions with a professional artist at home. Designed to open conversation on art and culture in the home, through shared creative activities for family carers and the person they care for.
  • Community Outreach – stand alone workshops in community and local resource centres and to engage in an arts activity while raising awareness about the Creative Carer programme and other support services.

In 2023, Arts for Health continues to work with the HSE and local development workers to invite and reach out to more family carers across the West Cork community with a focus on Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Bantry and the Mizen Peninsular .

Creative Carers at Home is available by referral from the HSE and local development workers.

Artists Justin Grounds, Sarah Ruttle and Aine Rose visit Carers at home, each taking a unique approach to research and investigate ways to support creative activities for Carers in their home.

In consultation with local Day Care Coordinators and local development workers the artists will identify families in the local area who provide full time care for a family member and are interested in participating in the programme. Beginning with an informal conversation about each family’s daily routine and creative interests, the artists will visit on dates and times agreed with the family to develop a shared creative activity for the family to enjoy together.

  • Composer and Musician Justin Grounds will work with Carers and their families at home to devise simple creative practices that fit into their caring routine.
  • Visual Artist Sarah Ruttle aims to provide a space for creativity, self expression and discussion. Designed to open conversation on art and culture in the home, through shared creative activities for family carers and the person they care for.
  • Aine Rose will work with people living with Parkinson’s to combine her Speech Therapy expertise with her arts practice to seek ways to unlock creative potential with the families.

In The Picture is a Dementia Friendly Gallery Programme at Uillinn, West Cork Arts Centre with dementia care specialist Sarah Cairns and artist Sarah Ruttle.

West Cork Arts Centre regularly invites people with dementia, their professional and /or family carers to participate in a facilitated experience exploring the current artwork and exhibition space.

Visual artist Sarah Ruttle with the assistance of SONAS Facilitator (Dementia Advisor) Sarah Cairns invite people with dementia, their professional and /or family carers to visit an exhibition at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre to look and experiment with others in a safe and welcoming environment. Each session includes a seated tour of the gallery where time is given to looking and experiencing the artwork and the many wonderful views from the building. Sessions might also include sharing of stories, singing, making of artwork in the workspace and a shared cup of tea and biscuit.

Creative Series – Art and Wellbeing  takes place over four to six weeeks with a series of creative workshops for family carers. Delivered by visual artist Sarah Ruttle. The workshops will take an informal and relaxed approach to exploring creativity for anyone who cares for someone at home. This is a supported and creative space where each participant can explore their own ideas. Workshops are an opportunity to take a moment for yourself, share in a cuppa while making and connect with others providing care at home.

Creative Series – Musical Cafe Mornings
Composer Justin Grounds hosts four weekly coffee mornings for Carers at the new Green Dot cafe in Clonakilty. The sessions will be an informal and relaxed opportunity to connect with other Carers in the community and explore ways to bring music and creativity into our daily lives with those we care for. Discussing and sharing  music choices, finding out how to make playlists and share them, exploring rhythms and melodies and even some creative haiku writing with guest artist Tess Leak.

Carer Events & Projects
The Creative Carer team will work with Local Link Coordinators to present once off events and projects in community spaces about West Cork such as drop in workshops, activity projects and information check in points. Artist Sharon Dipity, is currenlty devising a project for Carers on the Mizen and Sheeps head penisular.

To find out more or to get involved email or call 02822090

Services are Free of charge or with minimal booking fee to confirm a place


This initative is supported by Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, throught the Community Work Department and with the local Family Carer and Older Peoples Initative

Family Carers and Older Persons Initiative

Their mission is to develop and deliver activities that support Family Carers and Older Persons using a community development approach. They aim to enhance existing links with local community groups and statutory services to better meet the needs of Family Carers and Older Persons and to overcome social isolation by supporting community connection and participation.

They do this by:
–  developing and delivering community initiatives that support Family Carers and Older Persons through peer support, community engagement and empowerment
-Listening, so we can identify local needs and then advocate for and develop local solutions in partnership with others
-Promoting health, well-being and positive aging and overcome social isolation through engagement in local group activities
-Signposting and refering Family Carers and Older Persons to services for information and supports
-Advocating on behalf of Family Carers and Older Persons wherever relevant


Uillinn is committed to developing and implementing an artistic programme that places public engagement, the right to cultural expression and social inclusion at its centre. Learning at Uillinn is a dialogical practice; through the arts and the work of artists our programmes foster a spirit of public enquiry and curiosity. They enhance understanding, meaning-making, expression, experimentation, and risk-taking. We are championing accessibility and promoting the right for everyone, of all ages, to enjoy and participate in arts and culture based on the principles of dignity, independence, inclusion and equal opportunity. We’re asking ourselves: who else needs to be in the room and what do we intend to do to ensure that they are? We want to create equality of opportunity in practice and, importantly, in action.[1]


[1] Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre 2022 – 2025

“Research has shown that loneliness has a serious impact on people’s physical and mental health and quality of life, with loneliness comparable to risk factors such as smoking and obesity in terms of its impact on life expectancy. Carers are particularly at risk of loneliness and social exclusion as the caring role often limits the time available for socialising and the associated costs of caring can make social activities less affordable.” 

Family Carers Ireland Report: The State of Caring (2022)

About the Artists

Sarah Ruttle
Tyrone born visual artist Sarah is a graduate of Textiles from DJCAD Dundee, Scotland. Based in West Cork she creates work using illustration, print and paper art. Illustration has become an important part of her solo work, developing contemporary portraiture drawing on her experience of working within participatory arts. Creating characters influenced by her passion for photography, pattern and texture she hopes to make intimate and compelling images, which capture humanity, emotion and courage.

Collaboration is central to her participatory practice, developing projects both with other artists and participants within an Arts and Health context. Sarah has worked as part of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme, West Cork artist team since 2008. With experience of developing projects within the community and in acute mental health settings.

Justin Grounds
Justin is a violinist, composer and electronic music producer based in West Cork, Ireland.
He studied baroque violin with Rachel Good in his home town of Cambridge, UK, and went on to do a degree in Music and Theology at Durham University, majoring in electroacoustic composition. Justin toured as violinist with the live electronic band Keiretsu as well as producing 5 albums of solo music. He most recently collaborated with songwriter Pearse McGloughlin on ‘Idiot Songs’, an acclaimed collection of ‘electronic chamber songs’ taking inspiration from Dostoyevsky. His work for orchestra and chamber ensembles has been celebrated for its “minimalist musical aesthetic, with an almost rhapsodic arch of movement.” His ‘Passacaglia Apis’ for solo baroque violin and string orchestra won the inaugural East Cork Early Music Festival composers competition in 2014 and was premiered by Maya Homburger and Barry Guy.

Get Involved

For more information about any aspect of the programme, please get in touch on 028 22090 or and ask for Louise or Justine.

Participation is free for all activities – booking is essential. No experience is necessary and all materials will be provided.