HEALTHY Carlow projects were recently showcased to a visiting minister of state. Frank Feighan, junior minister at the Department of Health, visited St Catherine’s Community Services Centre on Wednesday 4 May.
Minister Feighan undertook the visit to view Healthy Ireland projects in the Carlow area and he was given a first-hand view of the Carlow Social Prescribing Service. Carlow Social Prescribing Service aims to reduce social isolation and improve people’s health and wellbeing. The service, which is free of charge, was established under Healthy Ireland Round 3 funding and has been in operation since October 2020.
The event also showcased the excellent children and young people service committee film project ***The Coronas*** and the St Catherine’s Traveller healthcare programme.
Minister Feighan said: “I am particularly pleased to be able to hear about your social prescribing service. This is now one of the most exciting and growing areas of healthcare in recent years.”
Social prescribing is a simple-yet-profound idea: linking patients in primary care with sources of support within the community, which can include arts and creativity, physical activity, peer and group support, green activity and computerised therapy. It has been shown to result in positive emotional and social outcomes, especially in reducing social exclusion for disadvantaged, isolated, lonely and vulnerable people, many of whom experience depression and anxiety.
The Healthy Carlow Committee, which is administered through Carlow County Council, includes a mix of agency and community representatives. It works as a sub-group of Carlow Local Community Development Committee (LCDC), which oversees Healthy Ireland funding.
LCDC vice-chairperson Sarah Barron said: “It is most important to acknowledge that these projects have been so successful due to the excellent partnership working and collaboration that exists between local community, voluntary and statutory groups in Co Carlow.”
Cllr John McDonald, leas cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, added: “Supporting the development of health and wellbeing is vital for communities so that everyone can enjoy physical and mental health to their full potential.”