Picture Credit: Patrick Browne
The winners of the Get Ireland Growing Fund run by Grow It Yourself (GIY) in partnership with Energia have been announced and three Roscommon groups are among 85 nationwide to have benefited.
The Brothers of Charity in Boyle, Feevagh NS and Kilteevan NS have all been awarded €500 to help Get Ireland Growing.
Pictured above (L-R) at the presentation of the Kilteevan NS Prize are Wellness Coach Alison Canavan, Trish Fox, parent; pupils Maria Fox, James Lunt and Meabh Egan with Karen O’Donohoe GIY, teacher Susan O’Connor and Amy O’Shaughnessy from Energia.
Speaking about their plans the Kilteevan NS team said, “We have recently created an outdoor classroom. This garden has been planted with plants, shrubs and flowers which attract pollinators and invites bio diversity to live in our school garden. We plan to plant vegetables and fruit, herbs. We plant to use every available space; pots, hanging baskets etc to plant easy to grow veg i.e. cherry tomatoes, blueberry plants, edible plants i.e. nasturtiums, scallions, lettuce that keeps growing, broccoli, onions and pumpkins in our raised beds. It will teach our future generations how easy and enjoyable it is to grow our own veg and fruit in our school, the heart of our community. We envisage this project will encourage children to continue growing their own fruit and veg at home and instil an awareness that we all have a part to play in creating a more sustainable environment. It will also significantly enhance our recently created garden which was developed and created through the efforts of volunteers the wider community.”
Commenting on their entry the Brothers of Charity team said “We are 6 adults with learning disabilities and attend “Teach an Lae” (in Boyle) during the week. We are supported by 4 staff to reach our potential in life, through finding us meaningful activities and work that we can enjoy. Being part of the local community here in Boyle is important to us and a community garden would be a great point to meet people.”
Feevagh NS also have great plans. The team there says, “We plan to create a vegetable/herb garden that the children will learn to tend. We plan to encourage the children and their families to be more self-reliant by planting their own vegetables. We plan to beautify the school grounds and encourage pollinators by planting flowers and installing window boxes. We want the children to learn about the importance of being more self-reliant. We want them to plant, tend and produce nutritious vegetables and learn about the benefits this provides to their homes, lives and bodies. We want to give them hands on experience in growing vegetables and promoting wildlife and plant life. We want to beautify the school grounds. We want to encourage insect life, birds, and wildlife on the school grounds.”
Commenting at the awards ceremony, the founder of GIY Michael Kelly said,
“We are delighted to award the recipients of the 2017 Energia Get Ireland Growing fund. Today is one of those dream days at work where we help 85 community groups from all across Ireland to get their food growing initiatives underway. The number of applications we received this year has been the highest amount ever received; these motivating and creative plans, which have been outlined will have real impact for people in parishes, towns, villages and cities across 31 counties. These types of projects usually struggle to find funding and supports and we are very pleased that GIY in partnership with Energia can now support these groups to grow food in their own communities.”
Amy O’Shaughnessy from Energia said
“It’s been an absolute privilege for Energia to support Get Ireland Growing. We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and dedication of community groups all over Ireland and the number of applications for funding really surpassed our expectations. Energia is committed to helping our customers improve the sustainability of their homes and businesses by being more energy efficient. Our partners at GIY have now given us the opportunity to help make a real difference in towns and villages across the country through this wonderful initiative. We’d like to congratulate all today’s awardees and wish them the very best of luck with their growing projects.”
In addition to the funding provided, GIY will also provide additional supports and opportunities for knowledge exchange between the projects, helping the best ideas to be shared through ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’. All of the projects remain part of the GIY network in the long term, giving them access to other GIY resources and additional groups and projects within the network, creating a long-term legacy.
This is the fourth year of the Get Ireland Growing fund, which has already supported more than 400 community food growing projects to date, positively impacting over 100,000 people. €270,000 has been awarded over the last four years and this was distributed to projects all across the country. Some of these flagship projects include, a food growing initiate in a young persons probation centre in Cork; the installation of food gardens at Focus Ireland; an edible quayside project in county Wexford, which has seen tomatoes flourishing on the railings at the New Ross quayside, a vegetable garden for asylum seekers in Clonakilty, Cork, a horticultural project for unemployed men in Waterford that supplies salads to restaurants and a community garden to reduce isolation on Inishbofin island to name but a few.