Irish Local Development Network (ILDN) have welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. of the successful tenderers that will receive funding for social farming model projects. Of the four successful tenderers three are ILDN members including:
- Leitrim Integrated Development Company CLG – for the provision of a Social Farming Model Project where social farming is mainstreamed as an option for people accessing supports across a range of sectors and services and where placements are fully commissioned.
- South Kerry Development Partnership – for a Social Farming Model Project which will 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 in meeting their personal life choices.
- IRD Duhallow – for a Social Farming model project which will promote rehabilitation, social inclusion, training, and improved quality of life in a non-clinical setting using agriculture including plants and animals for people across a wide spectrum of disability.
Commenting on the allocation, ILDN Chair Jim Finn said; “ILDN members are the primary providers of Social Farming in Ireland. We believe that Social Farming has the potential to provide transformational benefits for participants. It is a clear endorsement of our Local Development Companies and their network of Social Farmers across Ireland that the continued support of the Department of Agriculture Food & Marine has been confirmed for another year.
The contract with ILDN member Leitrim Integrated Development Company CLG for the provision of a Social Farming Network is also been extended for a further year. The extension of this contract with associated funding of €400,000 will allow for the further development of the national social farming network known as “Social Farming Ireland”. Social Farming Ireland works in collaboration with other Local Development Companies, namely West Limerick Resources, Waterford Leader Partnership and South West Mayo Development Company where regional Social Farming development officers are based ensuirng the provision of Social Farming in every County in Ireland.
Social farming is the practice of offering, on a voluntary basis, farming and horticultural participation in a farming environment as a choice to people who avail of a range of therapeutic day support services. These operations are run in a number of settings ranging from working family farms, local community initiatives through to more institutional frameworks. The successful service providers have been identified as having the vision and capability to develop substantial social farming model projects.