The winners have been announced in the ‘Energia Get Ireland Growing’ community growing fund created by GIY (Grow It Yourself) in partnership with Energia.
A fund of €75,000 has today been awarded to 86 community food growing projects across the island of Ireland. The teams behind 86 community projects will each receive funds in order to develop their unique projects and ideas further for the benefit of their local community.
The recipients include community groups, schools, NGOs and Not for Profits, community gardens and allotment groups, GIY groups, hospitals, crèches, direct provision centres and men's sheds all across the country. Each group will be awarded funding ranging from €500 to €2,000 with one group receiving €5,000. Some projects awarded support funds this year include:
Waterford Women's Centre which supports women who experience social, cultural, educational and economic disadvantage through the delivery of community education programmes;
Mullingar Rehab & Recovery Team who work with people from 18 up to and including people over 65 years, with and severe and enduring mental illness;
Global Action Plan Community Garden, Ballymun who bring people together of all ages and abilities to promote sustainable, local and organic food production, wellbeing and community engagement;
Cliftonville Men's Shed in Belfast who have 20 volunteer gardeners and regularly host youth groups and community events in conjunction with the local community centre and schools;
Voice of Migrants Ireland, Portlaoise who promote positive mental well-being and integration and grow vegetables with the residents in the Montague Direct Provision centre
The project announced as the overall winner and awarded the top prize of €5,000 is The Zero Waste Community Garden in Kildare which is dedicated to growing fruit and vegetables in a sustainable and organic way for gardeners and community residents. They currently have 13 gardeners with vegetable plots, a heritage orchard and 18 other fruit trees. They grow all year round with the aid of their polytunnel and their project has a massive positive impact in their community by helping to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce family’s expenditure on food and encourage a healthier lifestyle.
Commenting at the awards ceremony, GIY’s Head of Community Development and Campaign Ambassador Karen O’Donohoe said: “We are delighted to help each of these community groups to develop their projects and their ideas through Energia Get Ireland Growing. Reading through each of the applications was so heartening, first of all, there were so many of merit and in addition, every single one of these projects has an inclusive approach at its core and they are all committed to encouraging more people to grow their own food within their community for a wide range of social and environmental benefits. We’re thrilled that this year a project in each of the 32 counties has been selected for funding.”
This is the seventh year of the fund, which has already supported over 580 community food growing projects to date, positively impacting over 165,000 people. €485,000 has been awarded over the last seven years and this was distributed to projects all across the country.