8 November 2018
By Elaine Murphy
Janssen Sciences Ireland UC, PM Group and SISK have partnered with the Cork branch of Down Syndrome Ireland to continue to support the development of their Field of Dreams project in Curraheen, Co. Cork. Down Syndrome Cork’s Field of Dreams is a market garden for the cultivation of fruit, vegetable and farm produce.
Opened in 2017, the ground-breaking demonstrator project has provided education, training and rewarding work opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome in a safe, secure and inspirational environment.
The original development involved the transformation of a three acre plot from a greenfield site into a place of on-going learning through a programme of therapeutic horticulture. Since then, the Janssen, SISK and PM Group teams have worked to support the on-going development of the site in Curraheen by assisting in the completion of site works and laying smooth surface pathways to ensure the project had the infrastructure to begin on horticultural plots and polytunnels. This year, the teams have continued their work with the development of a new 400 square metre fruit garden to support the participants with their plans to grow fruit and develop a business venture from the harvest.
95% of adults with Down Syndrome are unemployed and this partnership recognises the need for industry support. Speaking about the partnership, Lorraine Brophy, Janssen Sciences Ireland UC said, “As a company, we are committed to making a difference to peoples’ lives. Forming meaningful ties with our local community is a key part of this. We are delighted to be continuing our partnership with Down Syndrome Cork and the truly inspirational participants involved in the project. We are privileged to make a difference to the lives of adults with Down Syndrome.”
Kyran Johnson, General Manager at Janssen Sciences Ireland UC said, “Industry has a responsibility to support these inspiring projects. Field of Dreams has grown to become a vibrant training hub for its participants, giving adults with Down Syndrome the opportunity to experience the workplace. It’s also an opportunity for our employees, who really value their time at the project.
“We began collaborating with Field of Dreams during its pilot phase in 2017, so it’s really inspirational for us to watch the project grow, and to grow with it. Adults with Down Syndrome face constant challenges but Field of Dreams will continue to expand to meet the needs of its participants.”