6 September 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
Following a competitive public procurement procedure under the 2017 Rural Innovation and Development Fund, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., has announced the three successful projects that will receive funding totalling €367,000, to promote and develop social farming projects in rural areas.
Minister Creed said “I am very pleased to support a number of initiatives which will promote and develop the practice of social farming across rural Ireland. Social farming allows people, who are availing of a range of health service supports, the opportunity to participate in farming activities in their local area.
The Minister added “I know that working on farming and horticulture projects has helped many participants to improve their wellbeing and grow their confidence. For participating farm families, social farming has proved a very worthwhile and satisfying activity which contributes to the local community.”
The awarding of funding announced is in addition to €350,000 already allocated to Ireland’s Social Farming Network bringing total support for social farming initiatives to €717,000 this year. The Minister said “I am heartened to see that the three projects which have been awarded contracts have previously received funding from my Department and I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of this continued support in their next phase”.
The first project contract was awarded to the Leitrim Integrated Development Company for the continuation of a national Social Farming Model of Best Practice Project (in collaboration with University College Dublin), with funding of €121,000 and which will continue with the delivery of evidence based learning, best practice and policy recommendations which should contribute to the promotion and development of social farming in Ireland.
The second project was awarded to South Kerry Development Partnership with funding of €123,000 for the provision of a Social Farming Project which will offer services for people with disabilities to engage with farm families and the community to meet personal development goals and choices and improve their wellbeing.
The third successful award is for Down Syndrome Ireland (Cork Branch) who were awarded funding of €123,000. This will help with the next phase of ‘Field of Dreams’, a horticultural centre for adults with Down Syndrome. The facility is expected to provide hands-on work experience, training and promotion of social inclusion to adults with Down Syndrome.