We are dreaming…..

Festive greeting card with snow scene and photos of adults with Down syndrome wearing festive clothes
Christmas Card style image with snow scene and individual photos of Field of Dreams Cork participants dressed in festive clothing.

… of another fantastic year in DS Cork, Field of Dreams.

To all our members, families, friends, supporters – thank you to each and every one of you who has helped us achieve our goals in 2018 and we hope you will continue to support us into 2019. Remember, a dream is not just for Christmas! Read on for a recap on all the wonderful things that 2018 brought.

We have 2 programmes running with 16 participants in total. All are adults with Down syndrome from the Cork region. As we write, 8 trainees are on Work Experience in Marks & Spencer Cork, learning invaluable skills for future employment. These participants  are working towards two QQI Level 3 Awards in Work Experience and Planting and Potting by Hand. And we can assure you they are having great fun along the journey. The other 8 participants attend our Activation Programme which supports their social, communication and life skills. The Field of Dreams is a unique model of social farming , where all those learning, working & volunteering here get to enjoy all the benefits of working in nature in this inspirational, holistic and joyous horticultural site.

Growing and Harvesting

2018 has seen another transformation on site. We may have had the infrastructure from last year but this year we have ‘grown’ into it! . We are expanding production in 2019.  The Field is now home to a serene remembrance  garden. We have hosted events and attended others, including The World Down Syndrome Congress in Glasgow, Social Farming Training in Mallow,  BLOOM in Dublin  & National Social Enterprise Forum  in Thomond Park.  We also had a fantastic presence at the Munster Agricultural Society Summer Show where we sold our first ever produce from the Field of Dreams- that was a very special moment for all of us!

Our team is growing also: Along side our manager Debbie Kelleher, horticulturalist and CETB tutor Nicky Green , CETB tutor Deirdre Fraher, we have recently been joined by Eva O’Donovan, employment support specialist and Mike Walsh, market gardener, We also have a wonderfully committed team of volunteers and Mary Coakley who is on Rural Social Scheme placement with us.  Our front of house team is supported by our ‘back office’ team; Sharon Mulcahy, project development manager and Therese McGrath, accountant  with admin and moral support provided from Down Syndrome Cork offices in Blackpool.

Your Support

None of this can be done without the support of our sponsors. From government agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine,  the CETB,the Cork County Council, & SECAD to the many small to large businesses of Cork, to every individual who organises a coffee morning or who gives up their time to help us on site, we are truly grateful for the support. The support of local organisations including the Munster Agricultural Society is hugely important to us, as is that of our neighbours around Curraheeen & Clash Road.  You really are supporting the realisation of dreams. 

May we take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas and a fruitful 2019. Go raibh míle maith agat agus na Nollaig sona duit.

Debbie, Sharon and all the team at Field of Dreams, Cork.

Activation Programme launches

Activation Programe goes gardening
The Activation Programme is a pilot, nurturing and holistic programme for adults who commit one day a week for 10 weeks. Activities are both indoors and outdoors but always person centred.

In March of this year our one day / week Activation Programme commenced on a 10 week pilot basis. This programme aims to provide meaningful activities and ongoing learning opportunities in the magical and safe environment of the Field of Dreams. It is geared at those adults who wish to partake in a variety of social and practical activities and gain new experiences in areas such as horticulture, catering and arts and crafts.

Read more

C-Field Constructing the Dream

C-Field Construction leave no stone unturned for Field of Dreams.

We may have been quiet online recently but only because we have been really busy on site. The excitement is mounting every day as the plan takes shape before our eyes under the expert and careful eye of C-Field Construction Site Foreman, Gerry Ryan. Gerry, seen with our own Ray O’Callaghan, and his team have been fantastic – a pure pleasure to work with and seem to be enjoying helping the dream unfold as much as we are. As you can see from the image, the construction work is very nearly complete and it seems an excellent time to thank C-Field Construction for their huge support of this project. Míle buíochas leis an bhfoireann ar fad.

C-Field Construction

Field of Dreams – Turning of the Sod

Press Release. 18th February 2017

The Field of Dreams is a horticultural and social farming initiative by Down Syndrome Cork which will provided meaningful work and life skills development opportunities for adults with Down syndrome. On Saturday 18th February, the ceremonial ‘turning of the sod’ was celebrated at the Field of Dreams ,in Clash Road, Curraheen, on a 3 acre site leased from Munster Agricultural Society. Adults with Down Syndrome were joined by their families, invited guests and supporters on this beautiful spring day to mark the culmination of five years hard work.
Ray O’Callaghan, Chairman of Down Syndrome Cork gave a brief background to the project, what inspired it, and why it is so badly needed. He thanked the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Health and Cork Educational Training Board for their essential support.
Special guests included County Mayor Cllr Seamus McGrath, Minister Michael Creed TD, Kathleen Lynch and celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin – all of whom spoke eloquently about the challenges facing adults with Down Syndrome and their families. They acknowledged that the 95% unemployment rate among adults with Down Syndrome is unacceptably high. They also endorsed the aim of DS Cork in supporting its adult members to gain skills and experience that will improve their job opportunities.
Ray thanked the Cork business community for their help in making the Field of Dreams a reality, in particular the following key sponsors: PM Group, CField Construction, M&S, ESB, Keelings, Dansko Food Ltd.
A reception at the Kingsley Hotel, Victoria Cross ensued, with Dansko Foods kindly sponsoring refreshments for the 80+ people who attended. Adults with Ds hosted this reception, and they used this opportunity to showcase their own achievements and abilities.
The event was formally closed by Ray, who thanked everyone again for their support, and he commended the unwavering dedication of the Board members for to the project. He reminded all present that we DO need more financial support, we DO need expertise in different shapes and forms…we DO need volunteers….in his words ‘loads done, loads more to do!’
As a fitting note to the Sod-turning event, builders are scheduled to break ground at the site over the coming weeks.

For more information on being part of the Field of Dreams, contact Sharon Mulcahy on email sharon.mulcahy@fieldofdreamscork.ie

For more photographs follow Facebook link

Field of Dreams ‘Turning of the Sod’

Plans are underway for the official ‘turning of the sod’ on Saturday 18th February. The 3 acre site, which has been leased to Down Syndrome Cork for 5 years will be a high of activity in the coming weeks when the site goes live. The official ‘turning of the sod’ is a much yearned for moment for the team involved in making the Field of Dreams a reality.

Ministers Simon Coveney and Michael Creed will be present along with celebrity gardner Diarmuid Gavin.

Kathleen Lynch, former Minister for Health will also be present, having been a firm supporter of this project from the outset.

Keep up to date with developments here and on the Facebook page.

As always, we are seeking supporters and welcome every call.
The support of the greater Cork community is of vital importance to this ground breaking demonstrator project.
Diarmuid Gavin

Field of Dreams General Meeting

The general meeting of the Field of Dreams was held on the 20th January in Cork Airport Hotel. The evening was inspiring and uplifting and the room was filled with enthusiasm and hope.

The video clip is an insight as to how the Field of Dreams is progressing.

Field of Dreams Inaugural General Meeting

The Inaugural general meeting of DSCork Field of Dreams took place on Friday, 20th January.

The Cork Airport Hotel hosted the event and the organisers were not disappointed with the numbers in attendance.

The meeting was opened by chairperson of DSCork, Ray O’Callaghan and vice chairperson Jason Bane chaired the meeting.

There was a presentation from Jason Bane on the journey so far, a background to the work involved in getting close to the site going live.

Tony McGrath of Project Management updated the audience on the planning process so far and details of the site going live in the next month to 6 weeks. PM Group have been very generous in their pro bono work and will manage all aspects of the site development in consultation with CField Construction.

Liam Ahern, board member of DSCork gave an update on the proposed education and training for adults in the Field of Dreams. This is being organised in conjunction with the Cork ETB.

Sharon Mulcahy, parent in DSCork has been very active in the organisation of the Field of Dreams and Sharon gave an outline on the different aspects of volunteers that will be needed.

Parent Marie Fitzgerald gave a very moving account of her journey with her son Paul and what the Field of Dreams will mean to them.

There was a plea to the members for volunteers with a particular emphasis on expertise in marketing the Field of Dreams and fundraising.

The meeting was an excellent success. The future is exciting and the parents of adults who will avail in the short term are anxious to move forward. The foundation and format will be well and truly set for the children of today who are the adults of tomorrow.

Please do get in touch with us if you have expertise that may benefit us or willing hands to help.