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Minister Hildegarde Naughton visits Uillinn

We were delighted to welcome Minister of State for Public Health, Wellbeing, and the National Drugs Strategy, Hildegarde Naughton, to Uillinn last Tuesday, 1st August. Ms. Naughton visited a number of Healthy Ireland supported services in West Cork, including Gabriel Lodge, Clonakilty Primary Care Centre, West Cork Travellers Centre, and West Cork Women Against Violence Project. Despite her busy schedule, Minister Naughton was able to spend part of Tuesday afternoon here at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre, learning about our Arts for Health Partnership Programme.

Minister Naughton was welcomed to Uillinn by Director, Ann Davoren, before being guided through the building by Programme Manager, Justine Foster. Ms. Naughton and her team visited the beautiful Blanket Stitch exhibition created by residents of Dunmanway Community Hospital, Castletownbere Community Hospital, and Bantry Day Care Centre, along with Arts for Health artist Bénédicte Coleman.

Creative Carers participants, Robin and Sally, as well as Arts for Health artist Sarah Ruttle, were also present to chat to Minister Naughton about the benefits of the programme. Robin said that himself and his mother really enjoyed the day, and hoped the visit would encourage Minister Naughton to support the programme – “a worthy cause”

The afternoon was a great opportunity for the Arts for Health Programme Manager to discuss the need for sustainable support with the Minister, emphasising reliance on government funding in order to continue delivering its valuable services. Justine Foster was accompanied by members of the Arts for Health Partnership Programme; Róisín Walsh (Director of Nursing, Schull Community Hospital, HSE) Teresa O’Sullivan (AEO Cork Education & Training Board) Maeve Mulrennan (Assistant Arts Officer, Cork County Council), Sheelagh Broderick (HSE CKCH Art & Wellbeing Officer, Health Promotion & Improvement) and June Hamill (HSE CKCH Community Work Department).

Minister Naughton welcomed the launch of the Arts for Health Strategic Plan and commented: “Communities shape many aspects of our lives, and engagement through creativity, physical activity and education can greatly enhance the health and wellbeing of the population.”

“I’m particularly keen to see the variety of programmes on offer for all interests and to see how wellbeing programmes are woven into daily lives for participants.”

Staff and Board of Uillinn were honoured to welcome Minister Hildegarde Naughton, many of our HSE colleagues, Councillor Caroline Cronin, and Senator Tim Lombard through our doors last week, as well as host representatives from Sailing into Wellness and Resonate Festival. We hope it won’t be too long until they visit West Cork again!