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Helium’s Creative Health Hubs to bring the powers of creativity to children across Ireland in 2020 and beyond

Imagine as a child knowing that illness will always be a part of your life. Imagine the feeling of being different because of the medication you have to take or the appointments you have to attend. 

The Growing Up in Ireland Report shows that children managing long-term illnesses face many more social and emotional challenges compared to their healthy peers. At the same time, our healthcare system is overstretched and under resourced when it comes to tackling these issues. In February of this year the Children’s Rights Alliance reported that 7,000 children were on waiting lists for community mental health and psychology supports. That’s why Helium strives to provide an alternative solution. 

Helium’s Creative Health Hubs
Through the important contributions of people like you, Helium’s new Creative Health Hub model works between hospitals, community settings, and online to provide a meaningful outlet and community of friends to children facing the isolating factors of illness.

This year, five times more families connected to our programmes than ever before… Here’s a look at some of 2019’s best moments:

The Helium Creative Health Hub Hospital Programme

Our hospital programme is mainly based in outpatient clinics where a majority of children managing long-term health conditions will have their regular hospital appointments. Here, families meet Helium’s artists and volunteers and children try out creative arts activities to pass the time in hospital, providing distraction, fun and relaxation during often long waiting times. This is also where we meet a lot of the children who are referred onto our community programme where they can connect over an extended time with others who understand what life with illness is like.

This year, in University Hospital, Limerick Helium’s Creative Health Hub artist, Paul Bokslag, met eight-year-old Cara in the outpatient department at University Hospital Limerick. Cara’s mother told us,

“We have been attending the clinic for a number of years now and although Cara is a very  sociable child, she did not enjoy the visits. The waiting area is very small and gets extremely overcrowded. The wait time is unfortunately, at least an hour and on occasions a lot more. There are often a few upset children and plenty of stressed parents. This visit, however, was a completely different story, the overall atmosphere was calm and relaxed. The children were entertained and engaged, and many were even interacting with one another. As a result the parents were relaxed. The time waiting for the appointment flew by.”

Give the gift of creativity this Christmas…
In 2019, thanks to the kindness of our funders and supporters, 1,600 children like Cara experienced the power of creativity in hospitals, community settings, and online. That’s five times more children than in 2018. Nearly 400 children have been referred by their families or healthcare professionals onto our community programme, a figure that is consistently rising. But right now, we have over 200 families in all corners of Ireland on waiting lists to access our programme.

Will you join us this Christmas in bringing the gift of creativity to many more families across Ireland in 2020?

The Helium Arts Creative Health Hub programme works between hospital clinics, community and online settings and takes an “arts on referral” approach, where families we meet in hospitals have the opportunity to be referred onto our community programme. The Creative Health Hub online programme provides opportunities for those most marginalised by serious medical conditions to connect creatively through an virtual system. Medical cover is provided in all of our community work, so children can participate worry free.

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We would love to keep in touch to tell you about what's happening in our creative programmes supporting children and teenagers managing long-term health conditions across Ireland to access a meaningful creative and social outlet. We will also send you details from time to time on our events, fundraising activities, funding and sector news.

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Contact Us
+ 353 (0) 44 93 96 960


Helium Arts is a registered charity and compliant with the requirements of the Charities Regulator, the national regulatory authority for charities in Ireland


CHY Number: 19236
Registered Charity Number (RCN): 20075200
Companies Registration Office: 486621


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Helium Arts
Top Floor
22 Pearse Street
Co. Westmeath
N91 VYP0



This website has been part funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.