Over €360,000 in funding announced for social farming projects

A total of €367,000 in funding for social farming projects has been announced by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The money is set to be divided between three projects – which aim to promote and develop social farming projects in rural areas – following a competitive public procurement procedure under the 2017 Rural Innovation and Development Fund, 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.

I know that working on farming and horticulture projects has helped many participants to improve their well-being and grow their confidence.

“For participating farm families, social farming has proved a very worthwhile and satisfying activity which contributes to the local community,” he added.

The awarding of funding announced today 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 department confirmed.

The three projects which have been awarded contracts today have previously received funding from the department.

Where is the funding going?

Funding equalling €121,000 has been awarded to the Leitrim Integrated Development Company for the continuation of a national ‘Social Farming Model of Best Practice Project’. The project is being carried out in collaboration with University College Dublin (UCD).

It is hoped this funding will allow the project to 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.

Meanwhile, the South Kerry Development Partnership was awarded funding of €123,000. This project aims to offer services for people with disabilities to engage with farm families and the community to meet personal development goals and choices and improve their well-being.

The same amount of funding was also allocated to the Cork branch of Down Syndrome Ireland to 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.