Ag Eisteacht’s work to move under the SHEP umbrella

Ag Eisteacht’s work to move under the SHEP umbrella


Ag Eisteacht, a charity leading a relationship-centred approach in frontline practice, is to transfer its work to the Social and Health Education Project (SHEP) in 2022.

For that alignment to happen, Ag Eisteacht will be voluntarily winding up as a charity and Dr Maeve Hurley will step down as CEO on 31st December 2021.

Going forward, the Ag Eisteacht Foundation will work in collaboration with SHEP to continue Ag Eisteacht’s Relationships in Practice work. This will include the four strands of the work: evidence informed training programmes, advocacy, collaboration and evaluation.

Dr Maeve Hurley, CEO and founder of Ag Eisteacht, whose steady leadership and clear vision has steered the charity’s path since the outset, said: “This is a new phase for Ag Eisteacht and an opportunity for the work to grow and develop further. Placing our Relationships in Practice work under SHEP means that our evidence-informed training programmes and other aspects of the work will continue under the leadership of Jim Sheehan, director of SHEP, and his team. We are fortunate to have built a warm and close working relationship with SHEP through our Heart of Frontline Practice alliance over the last three years and there are many synergies and shared values in the work our two organisations do.

“SHEP’s vision of fostering the wellbeing of people, families and communities is in tune with our vision so it feels that the work of Ag Eisteacht is being placed in a very safe and nurturing environment where it can be developed further.”

All existing bookings for Ag Eisteacht training courses and events in 2022 will be honoured and future training courses will continue to be facilitated by Ag Eisteacht’s experienced team of licensed trainers.

Dr Hurley said: “When establishing Ag Eisteacht in 2001 with my co-founder Kathy Jones, our vision was that all frontline practitioners would have the skills to respond in a sensitive way when turned to for help, and that these relationships would be recognised as a key element of ensuring improved health and wellbeing outcomes in service provision. Our reputation and the breadth and scope of our work has grown beyond my expectations over the last two decades, so much so that it is now time for a new way forward. Like many decisions that involve change, this has posed challenges, both for me personally and for the wider Ag Eisteacht organisation with so many committed people involved.  However, at this stage of my life and career, it feels right for another highly respected and well-established organisation to take the reins, harness this passion, creativity and expertise, and bring the work to the next stage and to its full potential.”

Jim Sheehan, director of SHEP, said: “All of us at SHEP are really excited about this new collaboration with Ag Eisteacht. There is great affinity between our organisations in terms of our ethos and approach and we at SHEP have long been admirers of the programme that Maeve and the team have developed and delivered over the years.  We are honoured to be involved in the next chapter of Relationships in Practice which fits very well alongside and complements the SHEP training programme.

“The SHEP Management Committee is confident that this new collaboration will be a very effective and dynamic way to continue to support practitioners working in health, education and other settings with quality, evidence-informed relational training.”

The Board of Ag Eisteacht has described this new phase in our history as a “transformational opportunity.”

Relationships in Practice is a collaboration between Ag Eisteacht Foundation and Social and Health Education Project (SHEP). SHEP is an Irish Charity (Registration No. 20025120).

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