UCC has introduced a new programme to provide farmers with the skills to work with people with disabilities.
UCC’s Adult Continuing Education and Applied Social Science departments, in conjunction with the Skellig Centre for Research and Innovation, came together to offer a Certificate in Practice Support in social farming.
The one-year programme will provide students with the skills to work with people with disability both on social farms and in a community setting.
“We listened to the farming community and they wanted a course that gives them the confidence to work with people with disabilities” commented Belinda Gascoigne, Manager of the Skellig Centre for Research and Innovation.
“Social farming helps fosters social inclusion and it is inspiring to see a passionate community rapidly growing around social farming in Ireland.”
For the past three years Kerry farmers Breeda and Patrick O’Sullivan from Glencar, have been participating in social farming with their namesake, Breada O’Sullivan.
Every week for the past three years Breada travels from Killorglin to the O'Sullivan farm to spend time with the family and help out with the animals.
“Rural Ireland has been getting lonelier and lonelier and as one thing after another closes, social farming has drawn our community together."
"Breada has become part of our family and you just have to look at the scrapbook she keeps of her visits here to see how much it means to her. Every week I participate in UCC’s new course and it has helped build my confidence and understanding” commented Breeda O’Sullivan.
Social farming has seen rapid growth across Ireland and it is currently operating in most counties in Ireland.