Jean Healy, arts and crafts instructor with St. Christophers services and Larry Bannon, Longford’s Mayor.

St Christopher’s Services Art Programme has been awarded first prize in the IPB Pride of Place Award for 2013. Pride of Place is an all-island competition that acknowledges the work that communities are doing all over Ireland. The competition focus is about people coming together to shape, change and improve daily lives in their communities.

The St Christopher’s Art Programme, run under the guidance of Programme Director Jean Healy, offers an exposure to art in all its forms, encouraging creativity, self-expression and the development of artistic skills. A major focus of the Art Programme is integration through art to the wider community in County Longford. This is done through projects involving service users working with primary and secondary students in County Longford, and also working with active-age groups and other art groups in the community.

Many venues are accessed around Longford to showcase the talent of the service users. Regular solo and group exhibitions are held throughout Longford and surrounding counties. The art and craftworks produced are displayed and sold throughout the year at craft fairs and through a unique Christmas pop-up shop.

The St Christopher’s Arts Programme took first place in the Community Arts category and the award ceremony took place in Derry on 16 November 2013. The judge’s commendation stated:
‘The joy and pride by those taking part is amazing. The commitment and dedication of the project leaders, and their innovation, deserves the highest praise. This is a self-sustaining project that touches many lives in a wholly positive way. A truly remarkable project.’

The work of the St Christopher’s Art Programme will continue to build on the links forged with the community of County Longford and looks forward to supporting and championing the service users in all their future artistic endeavours.


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