The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced that financial support for Social Farming will continue in Ireland with a sum of €777,000 to be allocated towards the extension of contracts for the following social farming model projects and the National Social Farming Network:
• Leitrim Integrated Development Company CLG – to continue to develop the national Social Farming Network known as Social Farming Ireland.
• Down Syndrome Irl (Cork Branch) – 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.
Social Farming has been shown to provide positive physical and mental health outcomes to a wide range of vulnerable social service users in Ireland. This model provides service users with the opportunity to visit and perform meaningful tasks according to their ability on approved and registered farms across rural Ireland. Participating farmers have also reported benefits to themselves from Social Farming such as gaining an extra source of income and increasing their social circle.