Tuesday, 28 February 2017

SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE (MARCH 1st to 17th) / TREE WEEK 2017 (MARCH 5th to 12th)


The month of March, will see a number of events trí mheán na Gaeilge and relating to our country's native trees. This is due to Seachtain na Gaeilge (March 1st to 17th) and National Tree Week, from March 5th to 12th.

For full details of events pertaining to Seachtain na Gaeilge, these are available to see onwww.snag.ie. Given Cork's two Gaeltacht Areas (Óileán Chléire agus Múscraí) and the ever-increasing interest in Irish within the County, it is hoped that many people will participate in the events. Tree Week 2017 will also see a number of events with the overall aim of the week being to convey to people the importance of our native trees and forests. Renowned Heritage Expert, Ted Cook, has scheduled a number of events for Tree Week in the Macroom/Baile Mhúirne area and these and further Tree Week events are available to view on the Events section of Cork County Council's heritage website, with further events also available to view onwww.treecouncil.ie .

CREATIVE IRELAND - CRINNIÚ NA CÁSCA AND THE COUNTY OF CORK


The Centenary Year in the County of Cork, 2016, was of tremendous success, as it was across the entire nation. In response to the heightened sense of shared identity that was established in 2016, and in respect of the breadth of cultural activity and public engagement that took place, the Irish Government has embarked on an insightful legacy project that sets out to harness the country's culture and heritage over the next five years with the purpose of ensuring 'that Ireland offers a meaningful, value driven quality of life'.
The project, titled 'CREATIVE IRELAND', is an ambitious one and has full government support, firmly based on the principles of collaboration and communication, community empowerment and internationalisation. It has five key strands; Enabling the Creative Potential of Every Child; Enabling Creativity in Every Community; Investing in our Creative and Cultural Infrastructure; Ireland as a Centre of Excellence in Media Production and Unifying our Global Reputation.
The Community Participation strand is being led by local authorities across the country and Cork County Council is currently undertaking a 2017 Creative Ireland action plan for County Cork, as well as a five-year strategy up until 2022, to tie in with the aims of the National Creative Ireland Initiative.
In addition, and one of the cornerstones of the National Creative Ireland Initiative, is the establishment of a new national day of cultural celebration - Criunniú na Cásca - that will take place on Easter Monday, April 17th this year, and each and every Easter Monday henceforth. Cork County Council will be promoting a whole range of activities being undertaken by local groups on the day and a number of Creative Ireland workshops will be taking place in County Cork over the coming weeks.

A full update regarding the Creative Ireland Programme and details regarding Crinniú na Cásca in County Cork 2017, will be announced next week. In the meantime, the national Creative Ireland plan is available to view by clicking here.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Substantial Boundary Extension proposal will mean higher Rates and Property Taxes for County

An amalgamation of Cork City and County Council was preferred option and majority view of the expert group set up in 2015 to look at local government arrangements in Cork city and county. 
A minority of the review group favoured a substantial boundary extension for Cork city. There was fierce political opposition from City Council interests to the preferred option and Minister Simon Coveney ordered a review of the review. 
If the review of the review favours a move to a large-scale boundary then opposition in the county must be mobilised as such a proposal poses a huge threat to rural life.  
Make no mistake about it this suggestion is essentially a money grabbing exercise by Cork City Council and we in rural Cork must fight it at every level. The suggestion that because most people living in the urban sprawl of Cork suburbs such as Togher, Doughcloyne, Douglas, Donnybrook, Grange and Rochestown regard themselves as living in the city is not a reason for a smash and grab and the decimation of the communities in Blarney Carrigaline, Glanmire, Carrigtwohil, Ballincollig and Ballygarvan. And where will it end?  will they keep coming back for more of our beloved county if they need more money. The huge movement of population from one authority to another will also undermine existing Municipal District boundaries. Changing the boundary would have a hugely  divisive effect on relations between the city and county.  
A boundary extension would have significant negative financial implications for County Cork due to loss of revenue from, for example, commercial rates and Local Property Tax. This will mean higher Commercial Rates and  Property tax for people in the rest of the county. we urge all those living in the county to fight this money grab in any way possible. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Annual General Meeting of Cork County Federation Muintir na Tíre

Annual General  Meeting  of Cork County Federation Muintir na Tíre Monday 13th March@ 8pm Ballyphehane Community Centre. Cork City.


Come along and Support a strong independent voice for Communities in County Cork

Update your Community Group Contact details

Potty about Potatoes from Griffins Garden Centre



Growing Potatoes & Harvesting

Potatoes are the backbone of any vegetable garden. You get them in relatively early and apart from some earthing up and keeping an eye out for blight there is very little to do.
There are so many different potato varieties, usually described as early, second early and maincrop potatoes. These names indicate when they crop and also give you an idea of the space you'll need, how closely and when they can be planted.






First Early :

First early potatoes are perfect if you want to grow small, new potatoes and should be planted from the end of February to late May. They'll be ready to harvest in about 10 weeks from the planting date. It's a good idea to 'chit' these varieties before planting - this produces long shoots from which the plants will grow. First early potatoes are ideal for growing in potato patio planters or containers. If you are short on Space and would love to Grow Potatoes, The PotatoPot is ideal for you.

A few of our most popular First earlies are

Sharpes Express,: ‘Sharpe’s Express’ is a favourite early in Ireland for good reason. It is unusual amongst ‘earlies’ in that it is a floury potato . Ideal for steaming

HomeGaurd : a superior potato with excellent flavour

Pentland Javeiln: A lovely soft waxy-textured new potato with white skins and flesh that is ideal for boiling as a salad or new potato

Other Varities: Aaran Pilot, Duke of York , Epicure, Maris Bard, Red Duke of York, Rocket, Orla

It's also worth remembering that earlies are less likely to encounter pest problems as they're lifted so much earlier in the year.


















SECOND EARLIES
Second earlies take 16 to 17 weeks to mature after planting, so you should be able to harvest them from very late June through to the start of August.

Kestrel - An exhibition winner – with outstanding taste

British Queen : This variety is over 100 years old and still highly prized for its yield, shape, floury texture and delicious flavour.


Other Varities : Caitriona , Kestrel, Record, Wilja, International Kidney , Charlotter


Maincrop
Maincrops are ready 18 to 20 weeks after planting, so they can be lifted usually from July through to October. Maincrops take up the most space in the garden, but they tend to be the best varieties to grow if you want some for storage.

Sarpo Mira : Blight resistant winner: unprecedented blight resistance, good slug resistance and it grows well in a wide range of soils. Potato'Sarpo Mira' produces huge yields of tasty, floury tubers that have a long storage potential.
Pink Fir Apple – Wonderful nutty flavour – RHS Award
Cara : An allotment Favourite: Excellent for baking and Chipping.

Rooster: the good old favourite in Ireland . Its the most widely grown potato in Ireland Ideal for the novice gardener

Other varities : Golden wonder, Kerrs Pink, King edward,




How to chit : Chitting simply means encouraging the seed potatoes to sprout before planting.. Start Chitting Now . Each seed potato has a more rounded, blunt end that has a number of 'eyes'. Stand the tubers with the blunt end uppermost in trays or old egg boxes, with plenty of natural light . Keep this room cool. The potatoes are ready to be planted out when the shoots are 1.5-2.5cm (0.5-1in) long.




How to plant

Plant your chitted potatoes when the soil has started to warm up, usually from ST PATRICKS DAY.
Plant early potatoes about 30cm (12in) apart with 40-50cm (16-20in) between the rows, and second earlies and maincrops about 38cm (15in) apart with 75cm (30in) between the rows.
Handle your chitted tubers with care, gently setting them into the trench with the shoots pointing upwards, being careful not to break the shoots. Cover the potatoes lightly with soil.
As soon as the shoots appear, earth up each plant by covering it with a ridge of soil so that the shoots are just buried.
You need to do this at regular intervals and by the end of the season each plant will have a small mound around it


Caring for a Small Blue planet Short Course

Hello All
cid:image001.jpg@01D28D17.B2E51ED0
We are running another short course on Caring for a Small Blue planet commencing this May, Attached is the flyer and the application form, there are only a limited number of places available so if you are interested please print off the application form and return to the office to book your place, or if you know anyone who might be interested please advise them to do the same.
Many thanks Ger

Geraldine Flanagan
Programme Administrator,
Social and Health Education Project,
The Village Centre, Station Road,
Ballincollig, Co.Cork
Phone: 021-4666180 Fax: 021-4870104.


The Social and Health Education Project

Cork Short Community Education Courses

May-June 2017 Application Form

Applicant’s Name:                                                                                                               

Home Address:                                                           Work Address:                               
                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                  
Home Phone:                                                              Work Phone:                                   
Mobile Phone:_____________________                  E-mail Address:__________________

Where did you hear about the courses?  ________________________________________________________
If referred to the course by another person please specify? ______________________________
Do you have any special needs/medical needs that we should be aware of for practical purposes? Please specify:__________________________________________________________
Where applying for a course for which there is No Charge*, if it applies to you, please provide a copy of a recent welfare payment, as some priority in allocating places will be given to this.
I wish to apply for the following course  (Please)  
                  Please indicate your 1st & 2nd preference if applying for more than one                                              
VENUES – The Lantern, 14 Georges Quay, Cork
·         Caring for a Small Blue Planet   (Thursdays 7-9.30pm & One Saturday)                  – No Charge
·         Applications are only processed when submitted on a completed Application Form.
·         Generally places are allocated in order of application and courses run subject to numbers applying. You will be notified in advance whether you have secured a place
·         Course at No Charge are funded through a variety of sources including donations, voluntary time and partnering of resources between groups such as CETB, HSE, The Lantern, RESPOND, Ireland fund and SHEP. Courses with a * Subject to funding.
·         SHEP treats information gathered via this form confidentially, storing it electronically and in hard copy, using it internally for course management and programme evaluation. Contact information is shared with the Lantern and RESPOND co-ordinator where that is the venue for the course.
Signature:____________________________       Date:_____________
Please return this Application Form to Programme Administrator, The Social and Health Education Project, Village Chambers, Village Centre, Station Road, Ballincollig, Co. Cork (021-4666180)

West Cork PPN (Bandon Kinsale MD & West Cork MD) Information meeting

Cork County Public Participation Network (PPN) is organising an information evening for the West Cork area (Bandon Kinsale MD & West Cork MD) on the evening of Tuesday March 7th 2017.
This event will bring together a number of exhibitors that will be of interest to Community & Voluntary, Social Inclusion & Environment groups.


Those wishing to attend are free to drop in at any time between 6pm  - 9pm. The event takes place in The Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery and will include exhibitors such as Clann Credo, Community Finance Ireland, Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, SECADWCDP & Comhar na nÓilean Teo, An Garda Siochana, the HSE, Local Link Rural Transport, Munitir na Tíre and many more.

We would like to invite your group to come along and meet with these organisations and with your PPN representatives.

Light refreshments will be provided so it would be greatly appreciated if you could please RSVP by Friday March 3rd to let us know how many people from your group will be attending.

If you have any questions please contact me on the mobile number below.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Regards,

Noelle Desmond  |  Cork County PPN Co-ordinator  |  086 0284611   |   www.corkcountyppn.com
  

Cork_County_PPN

Ballindangan Hosts Sell out Talk on Brain Health

Ballindangan near Mitchelstown hosted a very successful Brain Health Information Talk and Social Evening last night in the local Community Centre.
Over 130 people came from all over North Cork and further afield to hear renowned communicator  Dr Sabina Brennan who was recently presented with a major award at the Science Foundation Ireland Science Summit .
The award recognises her outstanding contribution to the popularisation of science, in particular where it raises public awareness of the value of science to human progress. Sabina believes that science is for sharing. She translates complex concepts and scientific content into easy-to-understand, practical information. Her aim is to entertain and empower – she believes that once those two elements are in place education is a welcome by-product. Her projects raise awareness about the importance of brain health and dementia risk reduction covering many aspects of science and human behaviour.
Indeed it was very evident from her talk in Ballindangan last night that she is brilliant at explaining complex science in a very down to earth and easy to understand way.

Sabina also answered questions from the packed audience especially those who have personal experience of coping with dementia.

The talk which was organised by Cork County Federation Muintir na Tire and Ballindangan Community Council and Ballindangan  Ladies Club was supported by the Community work Department of the HSE in North Cork.

Mr Finbarr Motherway Chairman of Muintir's Health Subcommittee welcomed everybody to the event especially all those who had travelled long distances. He paid tribute to the organisers and all those who contributed to making the evening such a huge success.




Take the Hello Brain Challenge. Top Tips for Brain Health

Take the Hello Brain Challenge


We all brush our teeth everyday but most of us never spare a thought for our brains. Did you know that activity, attitude and simple lifestyle changes can boost your brain health and may even act as a buffer against decline in brain function?
Take the Hello Brain challenge – do one thing every day that’s good for your brain. Read More here…

Get physically active.

Tone up:  Increasingly scientists have realised that being physically active is like drinking a tonic for your brain. When you start exercising, blood rushes around your body, including your brain. Never one to miss an opportunity, your brain takes advantage of this added oxygen and nutrients and refreshes itself, building new neurons and connections. This builds your brain reserves, backup funds for a rainy day, such as when damage occurs. Exercising three times per week was linked with a whopping 38% reduced risk of developing dementia over a 6 year period, in a study of over 65s. Another investigation found that physical activity in older adults with known cognitive impairment reduced the risk of dementia by 28% and AD by 45%. If a little pill could do this, it would fly off the shelves. 
But be aware that these results are from a small number of studies and more research is needed so we can’t say for sure that physical exercise will prevent dementia in any one person; however it makes perfect sense to take this approach until we have more evidence.
Stay socially engaged 

Social butterflies:  For many people, interacting with other people gives great sustenance in terms of brain health. We are a highly social species, but you don’t have to be a social butterfly to siphon off the rewards.  Joining a book club, a community group, a choir or a sports team are all ways of upping your game if you find it difficult to raise your share of social interaction. Or you could decide to have a regular coffee morning with a friend. It turns out that social interaction is like a pungent fertiliser to your brain. It will stimulate your brain cells to grow new connections and strengthens those already formed. New cells also spring to life in key memory areas of the brain, something that will stand to you. Why not arrange a regular time to meet with friends and go to a play or watch a film together?
Challenge your brain 

Younger you:  Mental stimulation is the secret ingredient to staying young in mind. This involves challenging your brain, getting it to jump those mental hurdles it might shy away from. If, for example, you like to do the easy level of Sudoko or the simplex crossword, move over to the harder levels and get your brain to sweat a little. Stretching your brain in this way will improve your mental sharpness and it might fight off some of the negative effects that ageing has on your brain, helping you stay brain fit as you age.  But the key to any new challenge is to make sure it is still a fun and enjoyable experience; so don’t push the dial too far into the red and get stressed. Your brain won’t thank you for that.
Novelty:  Don’t be stuck in a rut and always do the same things. If you take the easy road all the time, your brain will not bother saving itself for challenges that may lie ahead. Try and learn a new skill or hobby. You could learn a new language, develop computer skills to wow family members or join a new class. Visit new places, go to a museum you never visited or meet new people. Anything new that you learn helps to bolster brain connections and also lays down new tracks in your brain building your reserve. This enriches your brain network and opens up new routes that your brain might welcome if it ever needs to bypass blockages or go around damaged circuits. 
Manage stress

Change your attitude: manage stress, think young, think positive

Chill out and get out: People who are relaxed and outgoing have a lower risk of dementia, according to a study in Sweden in 2009. The research at the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm, looked at more than 500 people who at the start of the study were no younger than 78 and who did have dementia.
The scientists asked the participants about their lifestyle and personality traits and then followed up with the group over the course of six years. During that time, 144 people developed dementia and by matching the questionnaires with the outcomes, the scientists saw that being relaxed and being socially active were both linked with a reduced risk of developing the symptoms of dementia. You can read more about this study here.
Rein in stress hounds: Learning to keep stress on a short leash will benefit your physical health but also your brain fitness and overall memory performance. It is worth remembering that a certain amount of stress is a normal part of everyone’s day and in small doses it can be good for us, by motivating us to do better. Thankfully, there are ways for us to cope better when faced with strong stressors. 
Exercise can smoothen down the wrinkles of stress by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural happy chemicals. It is also a refreshing way to release pent up energy that stress can bundle up. Often our minds can be mobbed by worries and we can find it difficult to focus on the task at hand. By focusing on the present moment, concentrating on what is taking place right here, right now, we can shrug off such worries. It may sound simple, but it can take a bit of getting used to. Rooting awareness in the body, such as feeling the soles of your feet while walking, or focusing on breathing in and out, can tie you closer to the present moment, stopping the mind from wandering. 

South Cork County Public Participation Network (PPN) Information evening for the South & East Cork area

Cork County Public Participation Network (PPN) is organising an information evening for the South & East Cork area (Ballincollig Carrigaline MD, Blarney Macroom MD, Cobh MD and the East Cork MD) on the evening of Thursday March 9th 2017.


This event will bring together a number of exhibitors that will be of interest to Community & Voluntary, Social Inclusion & Environment groups.

Those wishing to attend are free to drop in at any time between 6pm  - 9pm. The event takes place in the County Hall, Carrigrohane Road, Cork and will include exhibitors such as 

Clann Credo, Community Finance Ireland, Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, SECAD, An Garda Siochana, the HSE, Local Link Rural Transport, Muintir na Tíre and many more.

We would like to invite your group to come along and meet with these organisations and with your PPN representatives.

Light refreshments will be provided so it would be greatly appreciated if you could please RSVP by Friday March 3rd to let us know how many people from your group will be attending.

If you have any questions please contact me on the mobile number below.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Regards,

Noelle Desmond  |  Cork County PPN Co-ordinator  |  086 0284611   |   www.corkcountyppn.com
  

Cork_County_PPN

CYCLE AGAINST SUICIDE - FERMOY WEDNESDAY 3RD MAY

Cycle Against Suicide was founded by Irish entrepreneur, Jim Breen as a result of an appearance on RTÉ’S documentary, The Secret Millionaire. The programme inspired Jim to continue to use his skills and influences to help raise awareness of mental health in Ireland and signpost people in need, to the considerable supports available for suicide prevention in Ireland.

During Cycle 2016, the Cycle Against Suicide Movement visited in excess of 28 towns/villages and communities across 15 counties with a combined population of 1.45 million.

Cycle Against Suicide operates a Homestay Programme that sees people from across the Island of Ireland open up their homes to participants of the Cycle each year, providing them with a warm meal, a chance to freshen up and a bed for the night. This provides the opportunity to people to lend their support without necessarily having to get on a bike.

This years Cycle starts in Dublin on Sunday 23rd April travelling North and South of the country and arriving into Fermoy on Wednesday 3rd, May 2017. One of the vital cogs in the wheel is our Homestay Coordination Team in which is being led by John Hennessy and Ellen Ni Dhunai and they are looking for help to find the 200 beds needed for the Cyclists and Crew.

Therefore, we are looking for your support by copying this message to your website and/or social media. If you have any further queries or wish to contact John can be  contacted at 087 415 4301 or emailjohnhennessy1235@gmail.com

Together, shoulder to shoulder we can break the cycle of suicide on the Island of Ireland

Kind regards
Anne McGowan
National Homestays Coordinator
087 2249204







Cycle Against Suicide Break The Cycle

Phone:  
 Website: www.cycleagainstsuicide.com

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

North Cork PPN information Meeting for PPN members (Fermoy and Kanturk Municipal Districts)


Cork County Public Participation Network (PPN) is organising an information evening for the North Cork area (Kanturk Mallow MD & Fermoy MD) on the evening of Wednesday March 8th 2017.
This event will bring together a number of exhibitors that will be of interest to Community & Voluntary, Social Inclusion & Environment groups.
Invitation to North Cork PPN Information Evening  – Wednesday  March 8th 2017
Those wishing to attend are free to drop in at any time between 6pm  – 9pm. The event takes place in Springfort Hall Hotel, Mallow and will include exhibitors such as Clann Credo, Community Finance Ireland, Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, IRD Duhallow, Ballyhoura Development, An Garda Siochana, the HSE, Local Link Rural Transport, Muintir na Tíre and many more.
If you are a member of one of a Community & Voluntary, Social Inclusion or Environment group in the North Cork area and would like to attend this event, please RSVP by March 3rd to Noelle Desmond, Cork County PPN Co-ordinator on 086 0284611 or by e-mail at ppn@CorkCoCo.ie 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Cork Examiner Report on threat to Childcare



Hundreds of community creches in disadvantaged areas nationwide “have reached breaking point”, according to a childcare expert.

Seven Cork creches that look after vulnerable babies and toddlers aged 0-3 have said they are on course to close in September because, under regulations, they can no longer rely on untrained community employment workers any longer.
The community creches already use qualified staff but say their tight budgets can’t stretch to hiring additional qualified childcare workers at €24,000 each.
Childcare consultant Susan Brocklesby said: “As the 2015 Breaking Point report on community creches in Cork and South County Dublin highlighted, these early years community settings are unsustainable at current levels of funding and are operating at financial risk.
“They have remained open by keeping expenditure low, relying on low-paid staff, volunteerism, CE, and under-resourced key positions. Payroll costs are too high relative to funding, with some over 100% of their overall income.”
The report showed 28% of the Cork and Dublin creches were spending 80%-120% of their income on staffing — this was before regulations were updated so that only trained staff can be included in the all-important child/childcare worker ratios.
Cork City Childcare Committee co-ordinator Kathryn O’Riordan said: “It is crazy that there isn’t targeted early intervention funding scheme for this group of vulnerable young children.
“The single affordable childcare scheme is a great development in general but it isn’t designed for these children as they have far greater needs.”
Over half of the children in the Breaking Point creches came from a house that did not have an adult in employment, a figure twice the national average.
Another 34% are lone parents, again twice the national average.
“Intervention in the first three years of a child’s life is the most valuable and by default and design, these creches play a real role in family support,” said Ms Brocklesby. 
“Yet they are not being funded for this function. The Deis scheme operates in primary and secondary schools and it should be extended to community creches in disadvantaged areas.”
A small number of Deis primary schools nationwide have early years services attached.
These are being funded at €9.42 an hour per child because of the complex needs of the young children. 
This is twice the funding that community creches will receive under the single affordable childcare scheme.
Cork Early Years Alliance is asking that this higher level of funding be extended to their services.
“Research has shown that children from disadvantaged areas that have full-time access to quality childcare have social and emotional advantages over kids that don’t,” it said.
In a letter to the Cork Early Years Alliance, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs said Minister Katherine Zappone “has committed to make sufficient additional money available to each service after analysis of their individual financial situation to ensure that they can meet the cost of replacement staff until September 2017”.
“After this, these services should be in a position to fund these places through their own income; but this will be kept under review,” said the letter. 
“No service will be forced to close.”

Foróige Summer Schemes

Cork County Council has committed to supporting the ongoing development of Foróige Summer Schemes delivered throughout County Cork.
Summer is a great time for young people. The days are long and bright and there is no school and possibilities for fun seem endless. However, for many young people the opportunities to enjoy summer activities are limited. This is a time when young people can lose contact with their peers and become disengaged from support systems such as school and communities.
Foróige, through its nationwide network of Local Youth Development Projects and Local Youth Services operate a number of summer schemes throughout Cork County to help these young people to have fun, to make new friends and to develop skills and confidence to enable them to fulfil their potential as human beings and as members of their communities.The Cork Foróige Summer Schemes are a series of fun and learning activities organised by local adults for young people in their community. The age range is usually 5 to 14 years with ‘Teen’ Schemes aged up to 16 years. Schemes are community based, planned and run by local adult volunteers with the help of a co-ordinator and backed up by voluntary helpers. Cork County Council through its Social Inclusion and Community Strategic Policy Committee has committed funding of €22,500 annually over three years in order to strengthen and expand new and current summer schemes across Cork County. Our youth are very important to us and we need to do all what we can to support them develop and interact with the peers while also supporting volunteerism in the community”.

The County Cork Foróige schemes will have their own action packed programme of fun and learning activities for young people taking part. Scheme Committees take into account the number and age range of young people involved, their interests and the scheme budget. Previous scheme activities have included swimming/surfing, outdoor pursuits, arts and crafts plus many more.
Foróige Regional Manager Mr. Declan O’Leary says, “Cork County Council Summer Scheme funding was an essential ingredient in ensuring that the 10 Foróige County Cork based Summer Schemes can operate again this summer and this funding provides a sustainable platform for future development of Summer Schemes in the county.”
For further information please contact Marie O’Mahony, Assistant Manager, Volunteer Led Services Cork, Foróige, 1st Floor Heron House, Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool, Co. Cork, T23 R50R. Telephone 021 4308915 or www.foroige.ie  

Seed Sowing! News from GIY Ireland


And so it begins again.  Another year of seed sowing.  I did my first sowing of the year yesterday afternoon in the potting shed, and as always was completely and utterly in my element.  There’s a lot of talk of late about mindfulness and the need for us all to train our minds to slow down the chatter.  Over the last few years I’ve become interested in mindfulness meditation, sitting quietly for ten minutes, usually first thing in the morning.  I’ve discovered that you tend to notice the benefits elsewhere in the day rather than during the ten minutes on the cushion.  There are simply more moments during the day where you are fully present - noticing a sight or sound or sensation or smell, rather than being permanently distracted by the incessant stream of thoughts in your head. 
You also notice that some activities lend themselves particularly well to mindfulness.  You might have to remind yourself to focus on washing your teeth for example, for it is a task that becomes so routine and so boring, that you rarely pay much attention to it.  But seed sowing for me is an activity that automatically silences the mind, and brings me back to present moment awareness.  I guess it’s because it’s such an intricate process, trying to coax the life out of tiny little seeds.  Anyway, it’s not surprising that the time I spend sowing seeds in the potting shed, is generally when I am at my most content (and honestly, ‘content’ is not a word that anyone would generally use to describe me).  Seed sowing is my happy place.
I always find it ironic that the sowing year kicks off in what still feels like the depths of winter with three of the quintessential Mediterranean crops – tomatoes, aubergines and peppers (chilli and sweet).  But all three of these vegetables need a long growing season in our climate and so they benefit from a hats-and-scarf February sowing.  You have the option of course of waiting another few months and buying the seedlings for these vegetables from a garden centre, but if you want to sow from seed then now’s the time to get cracking.  It’s way too cold for them to germinate in our miserable February weather (they will need a temperature of between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius) and so you need to provide them with artificial heat.  This can be done either by keeping them indoors on a sunny windowsill in the house, or if outside in a greenhouse, polytunnel or potting shed you will need a heated mat.  These are relatively inexpensive to buy.  
I sow tomatoes, aubergines and peppers in module trays (one seed to each module) and then place the trays themselves on the heated mat.  The mat that I have is about 2m long and can be set to a specific temperature – it also has a sensor so if things warm up in the potting shed during the day, then it will switch itself off automatically.  Just to be sure, I also cover the module trays with fleece which should make a bitterly cold Dunmore East feel a little more like the south of Spain.  It will be a couple of months before the seedlings are moved on from the module trays in to their own pots, and longer again before they’re planted in the ground.  Crucially, I will have to wait until July to eat the first tomatoes.  But at least we’ve started..
The Basics – The Needs of Seeds
You will probably remember from your science classes back in school, that seeds need some specific conditions in order to germinate and thrive.  Most seeds need these 3 conditions:
  1. Heat – generally speaking most seeds need a decent temperature to germinate.  A warm windowsill in the house or a heated bench in the potting shed is therefore ideal for starting seeds off.  There are exceptions, but it’s a good rule of thumb.
  2. Light – once germination begins, light is essential.  This explains why seeds sown too early in the year often get ‘leggy’ and weak.  They are literally straining to reach the light because there is not enough daylight.  Some veg like celery and lettuce need light in order to germinate in the first place.  Most seeds need 14 hours or so of light in order to thrive.   Some growers even use artificial lighting to compensate for the lack of natural light early in the year.  I prefer to work with the seasons a little more.
  3. Humidity / Moisture – the key when it comes to watering seeds is that they need uniform moisture.  Not water-logged, and certainly never allowed to dry out.  Gentle watering with a fine rose is essential to ensure you don’t wash the seeds away (or push them too deep in to the soil to germinate).

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Get your community more active through walking with the Active Community Walking Programme!


Get Ireland Walking in conjunction with Sports Partnerships across the country are rolling out the Active Community Walking Programme and encouraging more communities to become active through walking since 2015. 

The programme will work with communities to increase the capacity and potential of people with low levels of physical activity to become more active through walking.  This in turn will lead to increased numbers of people participating in walking throughout Ireland.

Cork Sports Partnership are currently accepting expression of interests from communities in Cork looking to avail of the programme for 2017. 

 A facilitator will work with communities over a 6–8 week period where weekly walking sessions and workshops will take place. Throughout the programme an action plan will be developed for walking locally in the community through the formation of a walking group and other supports to ensure it’s sustainable thereafter. 

If your community or group is interested in availing of the programme please contact the Cork Sports Partnership churley@corksports.ie or 021 434 7096 to register your interest or find out more information. Please note that the capacity to deliver will be dependent on demand and the availability of a facilitator, but Cork Sports Partnership will endeavour to support you in this regard. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Sustainable Energy Information Evening LadysBridge

Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) Sustainable Energy Community Information Evening Tuesday February 21nd 2017 at 7.30 pm Thatched Inn, Ladysbridge

Hosted by Ballymacoda Ladysbridge Community Council

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is calling on community groups across Ireland to join the dedicated ‘Sustainable Energy Community’ (SEC) Network. The aim of the Network is to catalyse and support a national movement of SECs operating in every part of the country. What is a Sustainable Energy Community? • A Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) is a community in which everyone works together to develop a sustainable energy system. To do so, they aim as far as possible to be energy efficient, to use renewable energy where feasible and to develop decentralised energy supplies. • A SEC can include all the different energy users in the community including homes, sports clubs, community centres, churches and businesses. • SEC’s are now being encouraged to join the new SEAI supported SEC Network to help build capacity and share skills across communities.


Presented by Conor O’Brien Sustainable Energy Community Mentor Service provided by: XD Sustainable Energy Consulting Ltd on behalf of the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland Web: www.seai.ie/sec

Sustainable Energy Community Information Evening Togher Cork City



Sustainable Energy Community
Information Evening

Wednesday February 22nd 2017  at 7.30 pm
Togher Community Centre

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) is calling on community groups across Ireland to join the dedicated Sustainable Energy Community(SEC) Network. The aim of the Network is to catalyse and support a national movement of SECs operating in every part of the country.

What is a Sustainable Energy Community?
A Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) is a community in which everyone works together to develop a sustainable energy system. To do so, they aim as far as possible to be energy efficient, to use renewable energy where feasible and to develop decentralised energy supplies.
A SEC can include all the different energy users in the community including homes, sports clubs, community centres, churches and businesses.
  SECs are now being encouraged to join the new SEAI supported SEC Network to help build capacity and share skills across communities.


Presented by Conor O’Brien
Sustainable Energy Community Mentor

Service provided by:
XD Sustainable Energy Consulting Ltd 

on behalf of the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland


Featured post

Sean Murphy is overall Individual winner of The Mayor of the County of Cork Community Awards

Congratulations to Sean Murphy from Killeagh The overall Individual winner of  The Mayor of the County of Cork  Community Awards  ...