A ground-breaking new project has been launched for adults with Down Syndrome in Cork which will be the first of its kind in Ireland.
Field of Dreams was officially launched by Down Syndrome Cork (DS Cork) at its gala dinner which was held at the Clayton Silver Springs Hotel on Saturday November 14th.
Making the announcement was Minister Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and Minister for State Kathleen Lynch, Minister for State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Primary Care, Social Care (Disability & Older People) and Mental Health, who are supporting the project.
Field of Dreams will be a market garden for the cultivation of fruit, vegetable and farm produce. It will be a ground-breaking demonstrator project which will provide education, training and rewarding work opportunities for adults with Down syndrome in a safe, secure and inspirational environment.
The Munster Agricultural Society has made available a three acre site in Curraheen to DS Cork for the exciting and innovative project for which planning will be sought at the end of November and it is due for completion in June 2016.
Speaking on the announcement, Minister Coveney said: "This is a fantastic concept that will be of huge support to the families and adults with Down syndrome. It is an example of much dedication and community effort to make something really positive for those with Down syndrome."
Minister of State Kathleen Lynch said: "I welcome this project which is the first of its kind in the country. It will provide great opportunities for adults with Down syndrome to help develop social connectivity and will offer early work experience in a healthy outdoor setting."
Ray O’Callaghan, Chairman of DS Cork said: "The achievements of DS Cork to date would not have been possible without the existing good will from the many volunteers and the Cork business community. The continuance of these relationships will be essential to deliver and operate this inspirational facility and we’re hoping that, with this support, Field of Dreams will be a huge success."
John Sweetnam (45) from Glanmire in Cork said: "This project is for creating a garden for people with Down syndrome disabilities, some are deaf and some love to touch and smell plants and sow seeds."
"It is good for people like us to know what kinds of fruit herbs, vegetables and flowers can be grown. It's also good for us to be out in the fresh air getting healthy exercise and making new friends."
Gerard Murphy, Chairman of the Munster Agricultural Society said: “The principals of our society are based on agricultural, industrial and educational development so we see this as a good social partnership to develop the facility."
For further information or to donate or sponsor an element of Field of Dreams visit
www.downsyndromecork.ie or call Down Syndrome Cork (Liam Ahern) on 021 43 00 444.