Social Farming Across Borders

The Social Farming Across Borders project has been running for two and a half years and has supported over sixty people who avail of health and social care services in N.I. and the border counties of the RoI to take part in the everyday activity.

Social Farming is about family farms offering services that promote social inclusion. The farm is not a specialised treatment farm; rather it remains a typical working farm where people in need of support can benefit from participation in farm activities in a nonclinical environment. It also creates the opportunity to reconnect farmers with their local communities through the opening up of their farms. Social Farming can be of benefit for a wide range of people, including people with disabilities (intellectual, physical and sensory), people with mental health difficulties, older people, children, the long-term unemployed and those availing of rehabilitation services.

SoFAB covers the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Londonderry, Louth, Monaghan, Tyrone and Sligo.

Social Farming offers a person who uses health and social services the choice of participating in meaningful activity in a family farm environment. Social and health care providers have the opportunity to partner with farmers to provide further choice for people that they support, in the development of their person-centred plans. Farmers have the opportunity to diversify farming activities and augment their income through the development of Social Farming services, thus making greater use of their farming skills and farm. Project Funding and Partners The Social Farming Across Borders Project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme, managed by Special EU Programmes Body. The project is led by University College Dublin, in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and Leitrim Development Company.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise in Northern Ireland and Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (ROI) are also involved in supporting the Project.

• Improve the quality of life of people who use services through expanding access to high quality Social Farming in the cross border region.

• Benefit farm households through providing the opportunity to deliver new community opportunities on farms.

• Raise public awareness of Social Farming and support the expansion of these services.

• Publish recommendations to encourage public policy to drive the development of Social Farming.

There are a number of key ways the SoFAB project achieves this:

• Establish a cross border network of farmers, health/Social care personnel and others.

• Social Farming has been delivered on a Pilot basis on 20 farms across the Project Region (12 Counties) over the period from June 2013 to May 2014.

• The Network has visited established social and care farms in Ireland and the UK.

• Training has been provided to the Pilot farmers and a further round of training is available to Farmers and Health Care workers over the period June to September 2014 in two venues CAFRE College Enniskillen & CAFRE College Greenmount. Bookings and further information – [email protected].

The first SoFAB Conference was held in Carrick on Shannon and focused on raising awareness of Social Farming. The second conference will be held in Belfast on the 10th September 2014 to present the lessons learnt by the project and the experience of Social Farming.


Facebook – Social Farming Across Borders, and Twitter - Social Farming SoFAB @Lairdhse06.

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Social Farming Across Borders

The Social Farming Across Borders (SoFAB) project is offering a 10 evening training course at CAFRE College Greenmount Antrim, and Fermanagh House Enniskillen from June to the end of August.

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  • Helen Doherty