Funding announcement

Funding from Creative Ireland for arts initiatives for older people 

Healing Sounds on the Wards, one of the programmes to be supported by Creative Ireland

Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) has received funding from Creative Ireland to support its arts programmes for older people in a major new initiative announced this week by Catherine Martin, TD, Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht.  The Creativity in Older Age Programme aims to support projects by seven organisations which help to counteract the impact of the pandemic on the older population in Ireland.  The Creative Ireland funding awarded to WHAT will specifically support Renew, a new arts programme for older people, which will be part of the Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing in October, in addition to supporting WHAT’s Healing Sounds on the Wards live music programme and Open Gallery dementia-inclusive art viewing programme.

The Creativity in Older Age Programme will see programmes delivered nationwide by seven organisations: Waterford Healing Arts Trust, Age and Opportunity, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Mercer’s Institute for Successful Aging (MISA) at St James’ Hospital, the Irish Hospice Foundation, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) and Sing Ireland.  Announcing the Creativity in Older Age programme funding, Minister Catherine Martin, TD said “The effect of the pandemic on our older citizens has been devastating. Through necessity they have had to isolate themselves away from family and friends and in doing so have lost the social links that generate contentment, confidence and mental wellbeing. My department knows the arts and creative programmes can help to rebuild the social connections that have been lost.”

Responding to the announcement of the funding, Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, said “We are extremely grateful to Creative Ireland for this significant funding which will support our arts initiatives for older people.  Drawing on the significant talent among our panel of artists in Waterford Healing Arts Trust and beyond, we have put together Renew, a new arts programme for older people as part of this year’s Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing, to bring joy and creativity, to impact positively on the participants’ physical and mental wellbeing, and to support their return to ‘normality’ post-Covid.  Renew will offer opportunities for older people to experience and participate in a multi-arts programme, including music, visual art, creative writing, dance and poetry.  We look forward to announcing more details when we launch the Well Festival programme in September with our festival partners Waterford City and County Libraries and Garter Lane Arts Centre”.

“In addition, as our fundraising has been severely impacted by the lockdown, we are very grateful to Creative Ireland for committing to supporting our Healing Sounds on the Wards live music sessions to the end of 2020 and to also supporting the resourcing of our Open Gallery dementia-inclusive art viewing programme.”

Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT) is Ireland’s leading arts and health organisation.  Established in 1993, WHAT brings arts experiences to the bedsides of patients at University Hospital Waterford and other healthcare settings.  WHAT believes that the arts contribute to the wellbeing and vitality of society and that engaging with the arts stimulates the participant’s sense of identity and creativity.  WHAT supports the development of arts and health in Ireland and manages the national website

Further info: Waterford Healing Arts Trust, 051 842664 /