The Pride of Marks & Spencer – Ray does us proud

Pride of Marks and Spencer
Ray receiving the Pride of Marks and Spencer Award from Simon Lucas, Head of Region, Republic of Ireland business, Marks & Spencer.

How delighted are we to report that our already Gold sponsors Marks & Spencer have recognised their employee Ray O’Callaghan’s volunteering work with an award? To top it off the award comes with a further £10,000 towards Field of Dreams. Read more

More information: Who What Where

More information - Briefing Document

More information / Briefing Document

Who? Down Syndrome Cork is a strong group of committed parents with a vision for their children to live full, active, enjoyable and purposeful lives. As a respected Cork charity with a proven track record we are delighted to be bringing the Field of Dreams to fruition in the coming months. We have over 360 members across Cork of whom 170 have adult family members with Down syndrome. Diarmuid Gavin, celebrity garden designer is committed to supporting us in the design process and ongoing into the future.

What & Where? Field of Dreams is to be a ‘demonstrator’ project, the first of its kind in Ireland. The project will see a 3 acre site at Curraheen, Bishopstown transform into something we think is magical – an educational and work based horticultural site for adults with Down syndrome. The focus of this programme will be on social and therapeutic horticulture, offering proven benefits to physical and psychological health, communication and problem solving. Activities that support lifelong learning and independence such as numeracy / literacy, computer skills and cooking will be offered in a setting that is holistic, sociable and FUN.
Read more

Planning Permission Application Submitted

Planning permission application Site image

Planning permission has been sought

for the Field of Dreams horticultural project from Cork County Council this week. All going according to plan, the sod will be turned in early May. The education, training and work progammes will be fully operational by September. Since the idea germinated in Chairperson Ray O’Callaghan’s mind about 4 years ago a lot of work has been put in by the Board of Down Syndrome Cork. This week’s planning permission submission marks the closing of one chapter and the opening of the next.

Planning permission application
“People said I was mad”, Ray O’Callaghan, Chairperson Field of Dreams, Cork.

“People said I was mad”, says Ray, laughing ” but the field is about to happen and as the man in the movie says ‘People will Come, People will come'”, referring to the 1989 movie ‘Field of Dreams’.  But Ray O’Callaghan’s actual inspiration came from a TV programme showing the benefits for adults with Down syndrome and their families, when introduced to work in a farm setting. Field of Dreams, Cork will build on this and provide meaningful work and life skill development opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome within a market garden setting.

There is a definite feeling of magic in the air of the 3 acre Curraheen site this week following the planning permission application. Thrown into the cauldron is

  • the enthusiasm of the adults with Down syndrome it is intended for,
  • the grit and determination of the Board members,
  • the advance purchase enquiries from Cork businesses
  • the opportunities for local, national and international businesses to come on board with sponsorship, expertise, materials and in many more ways.
  • and a little sprinkling of sparkle dust, of course.

‘People will come, Ray. They will most definitely come’.

Many thanks to the Evening Echo for their article published this evening.

Press Release – Launch

A ground-breaking new project has been launched for adults with Down Syndrome in Cork which will be the first of its kind in Ireland.

Field of Dreams was officially launched by Down Syndrome Cork (DS Cork) at its gala dinner which was held at the Clayton Silver Springs Hotel on November 14th. Making the announcement was Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Kathleen Lynch Minister for State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care (Disability & Older People) and Mental Health, who are supporting the project.
Field of Dreams will be a market garden for the cultivation of fruit, vegetable and farm produce. It will be a ground-breaking demonstrator project which will provide education, training and rewarding work opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome in a safe, secure and inspirational environment.

The Munster Agricultural Society has made available a three acre site in Curraheen to DS Cork for the exciting and innovative project for which planning will be sought by the end of the year with the aim of commencing the enterprise in June 2016.

Speaking on the announcement, Minister Coveney said:

“This is a fantastic concept that will be of huge support to the families and adults with Down Syndrome. It is an example of much dedication and community effort to make something really positive for those with Down Syndrome.”

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said:

“I welcome this project which is the first of its kind in the country.  It will provide great opportunities for adults with Down Syndrome to help develop social connectivity and will offer early work experience in a healthy outdoor setting.”

Ray O’Callaghan, Chairman of DS Cork said:

“The achievements of DS Cork to date would not have been possible without the existing good will from the many volunteers and the Cork business community. The continuance of these relationships will be essential to deliver and operate this inspirational facility and we’re hoping that, with this support, Field of Dreams will be a huge success.”

John Sweetnam (45) from Glanmire in Cork said:

“This project is for creating a garden for people with Down Syndrome disabilities, some are deaf and some love to touch and smell plants and sow seeds. It is good for people like us to know what kinds of fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers can be grown. It’s also good for us to be out in the fresh air getting healthy exercise and making new friends.”

Gerard Murphy, Chairman of the Munster Agricultural Society said:

“The principals of our society are based on agricultural, industrial and educational development so we see this as a good social partnership to develop the facility.”