Applicants sought for ‘Grow It Yourself’ initiative

Applicants sought for ‘Grow It Yourself’ initiative


Photo: GIY

GIY (Grow It Yourself) have announced the launch of their new ‘Cottage Market’ initiative, which invites community groups, including interested person from Clare, to avail of start-up funding in order to set up and run their own Cottage Market.

Activity partners Ulster Bank & The Ireland Funds are set to support the initiative across the country to the tune of €65,000 over the next two years with GIY aiming to put home-made, home-grown food and craft back at the centre of Irish communities.

Community groups nationwide are now invited to apply online via in order to avail of funding which will help them to establish and run their very own Cottage Market.

The successful applicants will be awarded with a tailor made training programme, which will provide them with the skills they need in order to firmly place fresh homegrown and homemade food back into the hearts of rural communities.

The initiative will see twenty new markets established across the country and those behind the new markets will take part in a training programme to ensure the markets’ success and longevity.

Social Enterprise, Marketing, Finance and Food experts will deliver training on a number of key modules including how to set up and run a viable community market, how to grow food for a market and will also offer tips on how to successfully market the new venture.

The deadline for applications is March 3rd; the groups behind the 20 new Markets will be selected by March 10th with the training programme taking place on March 25th, 2017.

Commenting on the launch of The Cottage Market programme, GIY’s Community Manager Karen O’Donohoe said: “The Cottage Market is a simple but fresh take on community led markets in villages, towns and cities all over Ireland. We know that this initiative for Cottage Markets across Ireland can be hugely successful.

We piloted the programme with three markets in Ladysbridge, Drogheda and Headford, and now with funding from the Ulster Bank Skills and Opportunities Fund and The Ireland Funds we are launching the Accelerator Phase that will build on the success of the pilot programme.”

According to GIY a Cottage Market differs from a Farmer’s Market concept in that it is all about bringing hobbyists and amateur producers from a local area together to showcase their often hidden skills and talents in areas such growing, sewing or baking.

Photo: GIY

Founder of GIY Michael Kelly describes it as “more community oriented than it is commercial. We are delighted to help establish what we feel is a natural evolution for GIY. The creation of these Cottage Markets will begin to satisfy the ever-increasing interest and demand from Irish consumers for locally grown and locally sourced food. The recent scarcity of vegetables on the supermarket shelves has certainly reinforced the need for Irish consumers to think more locally.  In addition, these Cottage Markets will offer great opportunities for GIY’ers with an over- abundance of produce.”

Commenting on the new GIY initiative, Pauline McKiernan, Sustainability Manager at Ulster Bank said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to support GIY as it expands with the launch of the Cottage Market.  Our Skills & Opportunities Fund enables funding for unique projects like this that will make a real impact in our local communities”.

Director of Grants and Research at The Ireland Funds Jordan Campbell, said: “The Ireland Funds’ Flagship Grant programme supports outstanding non-profit organisations to deliver effective programmes in the areas of arts and culture, education, peace and reconciliation and community development. The GIY Cottage Markets are a highly innovative and impactful means of promoting community integration and development. The Ireland Funds are proud to support their expansion into new communities across Ireland.”

Applications to establish new Cottage Markets are now being accepted online and the process remains open until March 3rd 2017.

Applications from existing market operators whose markets meet The Cottage Market criteria will also be accepted, the application form is available online at

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.