The 2018 North West Women in Farming event was a successful night of shared information and experiences among local women in the industry.
This year’s meet-up in Letterkenny on Thursday 24th May was described by attendees as excellent, brilliant and emotional. An mix of essential information, humour and poignant messages by speakers were shared on Thursday 24th May at the North West Women in Farming meeting, organised by Hannah McNelis, hosted by CoLab in LYIT and sponsored by IFA.
Speakers included Geraldine O’Sullivan, Stella McGroarty, Nicola McLaughlin, Donna Maskery and Joanne Gallagher.
Hannah Mc Nelis, event organiser said “I have to admit I was worried no one would turn up, such a beautiful evening for farming it was a great surprise to have so many women in attendance on the night”.
Nicola McLaughlin presented ‘a day in my life’ with beautiful pictures from Hillhead Farm, in Shrove Greencastle. She provided an introduction to farming techniques and practices that her family have trialled and adopted to maximise the potential of the farm.
Nicola painted a positive picture for the future opportunities available to young women in farming and is an ambassador for hard work and determination working three jobs at one time to pursue her interests in agricultural practices.
For Donna Maskery it was a difficult and emotional night as she talked openly for the first time about the weeks and months up to and after losing her younger brother, Aaron Scott to suicide in 2012.
Although this part of the night was very emotional and difficult the key messages that Donna focussed on were ones of hope and positivity as she stressed the need for us all to engage with wellness practices such as the Stress control training being delivered throughout the county supported by Majella O’Donnell’s charity ‘Donegal Mind Wellness’.
Donna is one of the individuals getting trained up to deliver Stress Control Training, which is free to attend and she would advocate for everyone to get involved in training of this sort.
Donna said “the aim of stress control training is to equip us with the skills to be able to identify when stress is starting to play too big a part in our lives and provide us with the tools to be able to control it. We all have stress in our lives and we are all different in our ability to cope and manage it, Stress Control techniques enables us to become our own therapists”.
Donna also provided information on the five steps to wellbeing and the work of Pieta House. Dates for September 2018 Stress Control Training are being arranged and will be available on the website www.donegalmindwellness.ie in August.
Geraldine O’Sullivan from IFA presented information on Pensions, Fair Deals and Farm Family matters. She provided practical tips to ensure people can access information on entitlements and to ensure they are aware of changes in legislation. She talked about the progressive work being undertaken by IFA on programmes such as ‘Fair Deals ‘to ensure the questionably named programme better supports farming families in the future.
Stella McGroarty had the audience grinning from ear to ear as she reminisced with stories of her childhood on their family farm in Roscommon and how she believes her early farming experiences instilled strong work ethics and ultimately shaped her journey as she works hard to support Fairtrade, ethically sourced, natural fabrics and make them available to the women of Donegal through her beautiful rustic boutique in Donegal Town.
Joanne Gallagher from LYIT described the progressive work being undertaken by LYIT as it continues to develop, expand and improve the services and products on offer. LYIT is fast gaining a reputation as one of the most inclusive, progressive education providers in the Country with student numbers growing year on year.
North West Women in Farming was formed in 2017 to bring a network of like-minded women together, give them an opportunity to meet socially, share experiences, learn through training and from each other and provide information on key topics.
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