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Creative Health Hubs

“When you care for these children for such a long time, they often conceal what they are going through inside in order to maintain the little control that they have. But they’ll reveal themselves to the artist through the medium of their creative interactions. Giving children an opportunity to express themselves during such difficult times is so important.” – Dr. Aoibhinn Walsh, Paediatric SpR


For Kids: What to Expect at your first Creative Health Hubs workshop

Helium Arts’ Creative Health Hub model is an exciting new approach to bring our innovative, multidisciplinary creative projects to many more children and teenagers across Ireland. In each Creative Health Hub location, Helium’s artist will deliver a continuous programme of activity connecting between hospitals, community and public settings. The programme will support children and young people to let their creativity free, and show the difference creative engagement can make to the mental health and wellbeing of children facing the social and emotional challenges of long-term illness. Through our “arts on prescription” approach, we will meet children in hospital who will then be referred to our workshop series in community & public settings.

We launched our Creative Health Hubs in Cork and Limerick in January 2019, and expanded to Galway in 2021 and Mallow, Co Cork in 2022. The hubs are taking place in partnership with Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, and Galway University Hospital alongside community and creative partners in both locations.

Creativity in hospital

Helium’s artists are primarily based in Paediatric Outpatient Clinics working closely with the medical community and giving children, young people and their families the opportunity to try out different age-appropriate creative activities and get to know the artists. From here, they have the opportunity to be referred by their doctors or parents to Helium’s community programme, where they can participate in a series of workshops over 4-6 weeks.

We are also working to develop additional programme offerings where children and young people can continue to take part in monthly Open Studios or school holiday Creative Camps.

Creativity in the community

In our community-based, group workshops children and young people get to experience the arts in their many forms over a four to six week period. Art forms may include painting, crafting, animation, adventure arts, printmaking, sound design, film-making and much more. The workshops will take place in wheelchair-accessible community and arts venues, with medical support provided for all workshops allowing participants to concentrate on the important business of letting their creativity free!

Each series of workshops in community settings will explore themes and creative projects encouraging groups to work collaboratively towards a shared creative output.

Children will experience:

-Facilitated creative arts workshops

-Creative activities to inspire engagement, conversation and collaboration

-A safe, accessible and medically supported environment

Through the programme, children and young people can:

-Meet other children and teenagers of a similar age with shared life experiences

-Develop team projects and productions

-Participate in family workshops with siblings

Following each block of workshops, children will be signposted to arts workshops / activities taking place in their locality or to other Helium Arts opportunities.

Dates for community workshops in Cork, Limerick, and Galway to be announced soon…

Contact hello@helium.ie or call 044 9396 960 to find out more.

Meet the Creative Health Hub Artists

Paul Bokslag is a visual artist and facilitator.  He is passionate about participative and inclusive arts practice and has facilitated many creative workshops and classes for different age groups and abilities.

Read more about Paul here.

Siobhán Clancy is a visual artist concerned with social health and how art  can act as a catalyst for positive change. She often collaborates with other artists, activists, youth, community and women’s groups on issue-based themes.

Read more about Siobhán here.

Background to Creative Health Hubs

Since 2009, Helium Arts has pioneered in developing age-appropriate, multidisciplinary creative projects in both hospitals and community settings. Our range of projects have aimed to offer an alternative creative and social outlet for children and teenagers living with illness, while also supporting the medical community in their work with young patients. Helium is now aiming to significantly increase access to our proven creative methods by structuring our programme offering through our Creative Health Hubs.

This model has been developed in line with the New Model of Paediatric Health Services and Sláinte Care, in addition to frameworks and concepts, such as self-management and social prescribing.


Helium Arts’ Creative Health Hubs are supported by the Arts Council, the Social Innovation Fund Ireland through the Arts to Impact Fund, and Creative Ireland. The Cork Hub is taking place in partnership with Cork University Hospital’s Arts, Health and Wellbeing Programme and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare. The Limerick Hub is taking place in partnership with University Hospital Limerick, Limerick City and County Council and Limerick Culture and Arts Department.

Contact Information

T: info@helium.ie | T:  044 9396 960

Helium Arts, Pearse House, 28 Pearse Street, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath