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.

The Field of Dreams by John Sweetnam

John SweetnamJohn Sweetnam writes about what working outdoors in a garden setting will mean to him and other adults with Down syndrome in the Cork region when Field of Dreams is operational. John is a Board member of Down Syndrome Cork and has been a strong supporter of Field of Dreams from the first stages of it’s planning. 

Read more

Group gardening is good for you!

Volunteering for group gardening is good for you
Research in the US has shown group gardening is good for your health

Improve your health by group gardening twice a week

Less stress, less anxiety, significantly more vigor, friendliness and general good health – sounds too good to be true doesn’t it! This magic medicine is not a new wonder drug or an expensive therapy session, surprisingly it is group gardening.  A recent scientific study in Florida, USA has shown that group gardening twice a week can do all of this! So why not consider volunteering for our Field of Dreams project?!

A group of Florida researchers has found a link between gardening and good mental health. Scientists at the University of Florida studied 23 healthy women.  The preliminary findings show the women who participated in group gardening activities twice a week reported profoundly reduced stress, anxiety, anger, confusion and fatigue. The women also reported significantly more vigor and friendliness than the women in the control group. The women in the study were asked to participate in gardening activities twice a week for six weeks  This group gardening included seed and bulb planting, plant propagation and tasting herbs. Brain scans and other psychological observation before and after the gardening program revealed the gardeners were significantly less stressed than the control group.  Dr Guy (lead researcher) says the research owes much to horticultural therapy.  However, this study significantly differs because the subjects of this study were healthy. “What we found in the gardening group was a significant impact,” Guy says. He hopes to have the research published later this year.

Sounds like volunteering on our Field of Dreams project could be really beneficial for you! Check out our volunteering tab on the Field of Dreams Volunteer Form to register your interest!!

Read more about this interesting scientific project at http://finance.yahoo.com/news/gardening-good-brain-florida-researchers-162121756.html