Ballyhoura Rural Services CLG (BRS) is an organisation dedicated to identifying and helping people who are affected by social isolation & exclusion. BRS has worked predominantly with older adults in the past. The organisation identified a need for both an expansion of the type of service it supplies and an alteration in the means used to provide it. There was a desire within the organisation to respond to the needs of other people in society who are experiencing social isolation, particularly young people.
Inspired by the success of Social Farms in Holland and the United Kingdom, BRS has developed a Social Farm to address the causes of isolation/exclusion, and barriers to education for young people in the area.
Social Farming, (Also known as Care/Green Farming) is an emerging form of social enterprise that uses a farm environment to deliver health and education benefits to participants. It is defined in Di Iacocca & O Connor (2009) as:
“..Farming practices aimed at promoting disadvantaged people’s rehabilitation, education and care”
This multifunctional use of farms has been introduced from grass roots level in the form of both start up purpose-built Social Farms, and as a form of farm economic diversification on existing farms. Social Farms offer opportunities such as: education; social care; rehabilitation; and a range of health and well- being outcomes.
This farm environment offers a very diverse range of activities and opportunities that provides structure to develop innovative activity-based programs for participants.
Social Farm Participants Include:
Early school leavers, people who are not employed or in education, people recovering from drug and alcohol misuse, young offenders, people with various disabilities, people with mental health issues, marginalised youths and young people who may have an interest in gaining knowledge about farming.
This emerging form of education and care is being used to successfully integrate disadvantaged people. It allows for the building of relationships and trust between professionals, educators, and the target group. It offers participants a set of daily tasks which provide opportunities for teamwork, growth and the development of a sense of shared responsibility. The care of animals, the raising of crops, and the potential for maintenance projects are just some of the rich opportunities provided by Social Farming models.
Social Farm, Doon, Co. Limerick
The Social Farm in Doon, which is located at the grounds of the former St. Joseph’s Girls Secondary School and adjacent convent, was donated to the community by the Sisters of Mercy. It consists of 33 acres and various buildings, which underwent a redeveloped in Autumn 2018.
The Social Farm began delivering its services in April 2019.
QQI Level 4 in Organic Growing for Work and Life
Commencing September 2020 until June 2021
This full-time course will cover modules such as growing vegetables and fruit, plant care and maintenance, personal development and assistance with seeking employment. The course will be run fully on Doon Social Farm where we have 2 polytunnels, a large-scale field plus hen enclosures. Here you will spend time in nature learning the practical skills of organic growing.
- This course is ideally suited to those between the ages of 18-35
- Priority will be given to participants that are unemployed and not in full time education and those on disability payments.
Participants in receipt of a Department of Social Protection payment may be entitled to payment whilst attending the course.
For more information or to register contact:
061 380808/085 8618993/0872474843
Facebook: Doon Social Farm
Some of the services planned to be delivered in the future include:
- Short courses and workshops • Day trips for schools and other organisations • Garden allotments • Farm walks • Fruit and vegetable market and lots more. Check out our Facebook page for regular updates.
Doon Social Farm welcome financial donations as well as items such as;
Farm tools and equipment
Safety and outdoor equipment such as boots, wellies and rain-gear
We do not accept broken or beyond-use items and equipment
If you would like to make a donation, please contact us by phone or email
Address: Social Farm, Doon, Co. Limerick, Eircode V94 F1P8
Phone:061 380808 Mobile: 085 8618993, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org