How We’re Working on Improving Our Overall Health & Well-Being

One of our goals, in our Centre Service Plan 2016, was to develop health and well-being in our service delivery.  As part of this initiative we have introduced new programmes such as the Mindfulness, Smoking Cessation, a walking group, the ‘Sing Your Heart Out’ Choir and the ‘Happy Hair’ project.

Improving the overall health and well-being of everyone in our service is of major importance for us.


The ‘Mindfulness’ programme is proving to be very popular with our participants.

“We like to create a tranquil space where participants can take time out of their busy lives to relax and develop holistic self-care skills.” – Catherine Cahill


Kabat-Zinn, if you haven’t heard of him, is a famous teacher of mindfulness meditation and the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.



Paying Attention “On Purpose”

Let’s take that example of eating and look at it a bit further. When we are purposefully aware of eating, we are consciously being aware of the process of eating. We’re deliberately noticing the sensations and our responses to those sensations. We’re noticing the mind wandering, and when it does wander we purposefully bring our attention back. When we’re eating unmindfully we may in theory be aware of what we’re doing, but we’re probably thinking about a hundred and one other things at the same time, and we may also be watching TV, talking, or reading — or even all three! So a very small part of our awareness is absorbed with eating, and we may be only barely aware of the physical sensations and even less aware of our thoughts and emotions. Because we’re only dimly aware of our thoughts, they wander in an unrestricted way. There’s no conscious attempt to bring our attention back to our eating. There’s no purposefulness.


This purposefulness is a very important part of mindfulness. Having the purpose of staying with our experience, whether that’s the breath, or a particular emotion, or something as simple as eating, means that we are actively shaping the mind.


“I am enjoying the mindfulness. I find that it helps me to come back to myself, relax and not get upset when things go wrong.” – Suzanne Hyland

“I enjoy it and find it very relaxing.” – Daniel Reid

“I think the mindfulness is very relaxing it helps me cope with everyday situations.” – John Yilmaz

“It is very relaxing, I feel very chilled out, I enjoy the time.” – Kieran Morris

The Sanctuary

As part of our exploration into Mindfulness, we took a trip into ‘The Sanctuary’ in Stanhope Street, Stoneybatter, D7. We went to a Monday morning Mindfulness/Meditation drop-in class. This event is held weekly from 10.00am – 11.15am. This was a wonderful experience.

The benefits that we found from doing this class were that it gave us a greater understanding of meditation and helped deepen our practice, it helped strengthen our group, gave focus to our day/week and opened a door to new friendships being made.

After the meditation we went for a walk around the Zen garden which is part of the centre. This is a beautiful place and as a group we found the whole experience very uplifting and peaceful.

Afterwards, we went for lunch in the coffee shop at Farmleigh, in the Phoenix Park. We had a great chat about how amazing ‘The Sanctuary’ is. We were astounded to find this oasis of calm, in the midst of a bustling busy city. It was wonderful to meet people from all different backgrounds converging in this special place.



Everyday after lunch our walking group takes place. We take some time out of our busy day, to go outside and walk around the grounds of our centre. We usually walk for around 30 mins a day, weather permitting.

Walking is know to help you lose weight and de-stress. It is also known to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases—going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health.







Recently, as part of our healthy and well-being programme, we set-up the ‘Sing Your Heart Out’ Estuary Choir.

There are many benefits from singing: physically, emotionally and socially.




  • Singing exercises our lungs.

  • It can improve our sleep

  • Our facial muscles get toned.

  • Our posture improves.

  • We can become more mentally alert.

  • There is a release of endorphins.

  • Our immune system is given a boost enabling us to fight disease.

  • It can help reduce anger and depression and anxiety.


  • Increase in self esteem and confidence.

  • It increases feelings of wellbeing.

  • It enhances mood.

  • Useful as a stress reducer.

  • It can increase positive feelings.

  • Encourages creativity.

  • It evokes emotions.

  • Promotes bonding.

  • Increases understanding and empathy between cultures.


  • It enables you to meet more people.

  • Is a forum for sharing.

  • Brings people together and encourages a sense of community.

  • Offers opportunity for giving and receiving positive feedback.

  • A forum for fun & laughter.

  • Support.

  • Provides a safe environment to try new skills.

  • Brings people together.


We couldn’t talk about the benefits of music without talking about one of our newest members, Leon Keogh. Leon has shown a passion for music since his very first week here in EVE Estuary. His love of music shines through and he lights up anytime that he talks about it.

“In the past I was lucky enough to get work experience with Near Fm. Afterwards, I was sure that I was meant to work in this area. I went out and bought myself a pair of decks and started to create mash-ups and music. Music is very hard to make, so I usually make mash-ups. A mash-up is when two or more songs are played together or running into each other.

When I started working in EVE Estuary I told them that I would be interested in work experience. They helped me to get in touch with St Ita’s Hospital Radio and I now have a placement with them every Monday morning.

I have a passion for music! Living your life and being able to fulfil your dream is very rewarding. I think music helps with my health and wellness. I like listening to different artists and different styles of music. I love listening really well to the words in the songs and seeing the story that the artist is trying to say.

I also love to dance at parties. Music makes me so happy!”




Keeping yourself looking and feeling good is an important part of maintaining your overall health and wellbeing.

When you are looking good, it helps you to feel good too.


To help our participants embrace the idea of pampering themselves and keeping themselves looking their best, we set up the ‘Happy Hair’ programme.  Every four to six weeks, we organise a hairdresser named Tracey to come to the centre. Tracey is a fully qualified hairdresser who offers a full range of hair services for a good price.

This service is available to all participants. Whether it is a cut, colour or wash and blow dry, Tracey can do it all.

She has been coming to the centre for around a year and a half now and anyone that has had their hair done, loved it!

Participants leave the hairdressers feeling happy, beautify and confident.

Check out some of our before and after shots.

“I like getting my hair done she is very nice and gentle.” – Josie Smith

“I love getting my hair done! It makes me feel special and I always feel more beautiful afterwards.” – Suzanne Hyland







EVE Estuary Centre is now a Smoke Free Campus!!


We are currently running a smoking cessation programme for our participants and it is proving to be very beneficial.

The smoking cessation programme is broken into seven sessions with the aim, by the end of the course, for participants to reduce and/or stop smoking. The course work is very informative and interesting.

The following excerpts are from participants that have completed the first round of this course.

“The course helps me to think about giving up smoking. It is very hard to do and I still feel that it is going to be a long road.” – Mark Leahy

“I found the workbook to be good. It had useful information in it and you learn how to become healthier.” – Craig Halpin

“I feel fitter and have more money and more energy for football and floorball. I have to keep going and try not to fall back into bad habits.” – Patrick Tunstead



© 2016 HSE/EVE

About HSE EVE Estuary

HSE EVE Estuary Centre is part of Eastern Vocational Enterprise (EVE) and is a training centre for individuals with intellectual disabilities based in Lissenhall, Swords, HSE Dublin North East. We provide a quality service to sixty four individuals.

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