Feel good friday returns to the Quarries farm…

feel good friday

Cairngorms visit

We have just returned from a visit to the Highlands, Joan to a course in Findhorn, and me to a cabin in the woods…

Mowhawk adjusted copyright for web

apple copyright for web

concentration copyright for web

intent adjusted copyright for web

Time to reconnect and celebrate the harvest!

Growing Memories Big Lunch 2013 pdfGreetings everyone

Growing Connections, will be holding our Big Lunch this year on Saturday 28th September from 11am until 2pm.

The theme will be Growing Memories and we look forward to sharing the material gathered from our Heritage Lottery Funded project with you all while enjoying fresh soup and salad grown with the volunteers’ help on the farm! Some of you will remember last years Big Lunch which was a fantastic day on the farm. This is again an opportunity to enjoy a social occasion and celebrate together.

It will be followed on the 19th October with the launch of the ‘Growing Memories’ project booklet, when the farm will be open to the public and the North Down Mayor and many others will be visiting our project. It would be great if you could make this event as well, since we will be holding our AGM on the same day. More details of this day to follow.

The Growing Memories project has been great fun with participant under 25 and over 50 sharing stories, through food, games, TV programmes and even mobile phones!
We will be sharing our video and digital material at the Big Lunch, and look forward to sharing more tales from across the years!

Games for all ages

Games for all ages

Paul and Gary, with the volunteers, are working every week on the farm, keeping it looking great and safe for users – many, many thanks to them all! Thanks to their hard work we can focus on all the other things …

Lets celebrate this year on the farm!

Rachael & Susanne

International Mud Day ,joyous and Dirty…

It was Zoe’s Idea, she made me do it!. Zoe happened to mention that June 29th was International Mud Day, and would anyone be up for sharing the experiance??
Well Here at Growing Connections we have a beautiful Little Woodland, that me and my Forest school group have been exploring over the last few months, and I thought we could get some really super sticky,oozy , activities going..


Belfast hosted a World Forum for Nature. Action. Collaboration. Children. Speaking was Bishnu Bhatta, from Nepal, who told the delegates about a small village, Panchkhal, 45 km from Kathmandu, where it was decided that in the interests of correlating Child development to Mother Nature, 58 children from the local orphanages, would be invited to a mud field to play games and make new friends, and then share a meal together. There were 48 boys from Panchkhal Orphanage and 10 girls from Kathmandu Orphanage. They ranged in age from 8 to 13.
An 8,214 square feet area was prepared, mixing topsoil with water from a distant hilltop, and the night before the event it bucketed down..At first the children were hesitant, all manner of discomfort and alarm was observed from their facial expressions! but they played football and the leaders of the event demonstrated jumping and guddling to the children and gradually boys first they began to enjoy the cool, sticky, sloppy, squelchy earth.

mud boy

Sujata, a young girl, worried about the earthworms coming to the surface, and why they had to appear just where she was! But she learned to share, and there was plenty for all!. After many hours of joyful carefree inquisitive abandon, the children all bathed, and were provided with clean towels and clothes, and a hot meal to share with each other. It was a Wonderful day.
Gillian Mcauliffe from Australia was listening to Bishnu , and when she returned to Australia, whilst making a mud hut with a group of children, told them about the event in Nepal, and how the absence of clean clothes to change into and soap to wash with, inhibited the play choices of these children in Nepal..The Australian children suggested donating their own clothes, and then it was decided that the best way to help would be to set up a fund and raise money for the Nepalese children to buy their own clothes.
Bold Park in Australia was where they decided to hold a Celebration Mud Day simultaniously, to demonstrate how important it is for us all to be connected to the Earth, and to each other.!!

clay boy

“Children are like Clay, it is the hand of the maker that gives them their shape..”

young guddlers..

when the weather sends you rain..build a water slide!

Our Forest School sessions have ended for now, but many thanks to the children and Parents who came along and I can confidently say we had a wonderful time!


jessie on slide

end of


Womens Tec Electricity Course ends with a bang…

Many Woman have availed themselves of the varied accessible and interesting courses run by the Womens Tec Organisation at Duncairn Gardens in Belfast. The Tutors and Participants have a way of making everyone feel very welcome, and eager to learn the mysteries of subjects like Plumbing, electricity and joinery…
Our ten week Electricity Course has come to an end, and that is sad, but at least there are seven more Women who know what to do with a pendant light fitting, and how to wire a timer onto their immersion, to save money!
Thanks Girls!




get in there

glamour puss


sparky girls

Social Thereputic Horticulture comes to Ballywalter…

Thanks to our Trainer Damian from Thrive, who led a two day course hosted by F.A.S.A at Ballywalter, thier Eden village Site. We learnt the rudumentaries of planning for clients with mental health issues, ie all of us at one stage or another in our lives..! The weather was beautiful


damian,rory, and viv



hard a potting

I think we have just had our Summer…

Getting a TASTE for Market Gardening

Some of our volunteers were invited to visit Flavour First our local veg box farm near Donaghadee.

It was a great opportunity to learn more about how commerical growing works. A big thank you to William and his family who have given us a generous donation to help our volunteers to carry out activities on our farm.  If you would like to know more about Williams family farm business go to his website.



Carer Event flyer

Feel Good Friday a morning of activities for Carers at the farm this Friday 14th June from 10.30 to 12.30.  This is an event supported by the South Eastern Health and Social Care trust as part of carers week.

A very big thank you to ATHELAS PLANTS

Growing Connections would like to thank Athelas Plants for their recent contribution. Their funds will go towards supporting our volunteers.

Without our volunteers giving their time and energy to make our project successful we would not be able to provide this unique rural environment, facilitating activities, in our woodland, which engage members of our community group and other marginalised groups.

 Thank you ATHELAS for helping to give people the opportunity to escape the pressures and isolation of everyday life and discover a sense of purpose in a calming environment where they can relax, socialise and learn new skills.

Athelas Plants is an exotic plant nursery based in East Sussex. They have a wide selection of exotic plants including Bamboo, Cordyline, phormium, Trachycarpus Fortunei, Cupressus Sempervirens, Phyllostachys Nigra, Callistemon Citrinus. If you would like to know more about them visit their website   ImageImageImageImageImagehttp://www.athelasplants.co.uk/