The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD, has announced that his Department will continue to support Social Farming in Ireland with an allocation of approx. €777,000 towards the extension of contracts for the following social farming model projects and the National Social Farming Network:
• Down Syndrome Ireland – to provide opportunities for participation in a purpose-built farm, the Field of Dreams with horticulture and animal care elements which will bring long lasting wellness benefits to participants.
• South Kerry Development Partnership – to increase participant and host farmers engagement so that the social farming opportunity is available to more people in Kerry and to offer choice to people with disabilities to engage with farm families.
• IRD Duhallow – to promote rehabilitation, social inclusion, training and improved quality of life in a non-clinical setting using agriculture including plants and animals. To include people with mental health conditions, people with intellectual, physical or sensory disabilities, people with autism and those with hidden disabilities.
• Leitrim Integrated Development Company CLG – to model and progress full commissioning and mainstreaming of Social Farming supports across a range of sectors and services in Ireland.
Minister McConalogue said about the support for social farming that, “I am pleased to be able to continue to support this initiative which provides an important service throughout rural communities for disadvantaged groups who are availing of a range of health service supports. Participation in social farming has been shown to provide many benefits such as improved community connections, increased self-esteem and improved health and well-being as well as the opportunity to learn new skills. I have witnessed the benefits myself having visited a social farm in my home county where I spoke to a number of participants and saw first-hand the activities in which these young people were involved.”