In this month's newsletter read about various GROW events held nationwide in March, join Operation Transformation Leader Marie Grace in the upcoming Great Limerick Run or come along to Dungarvan for a 'Helping Communities Bloom' event featuring GROW Patron John Lonergan.
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April 2017 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

GROW in Ireland 50th Anniversary Preparations

GROW in Ireland will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2019, in what promises to be a very special celebration of GROW's work in Ireland and its positive contribution to promoting mental wellbeing and recovery over five decades. 

GROW, which has its origins in Australia, has ventured on a long and fruitful journey since its commencement in Limerick in 1969.

With the 50th anniversary 'growing' ever closer, thoughts and preparations are now focusing on 2019. Further details will be available over the coming months, with plans in place to establish a committee specifically in relation to the 50th anniversary celebrations.

Michele Kerrigan, CEO GROW in Ireland 

Deadline Extended for GROW Online Forum

The deadline for submissions to the GROW Online Forum has been extended until the end of May

May 31st is the new cut-off point for submissions to the online forum, with all in GROW being urged to register and partake in the private online forum.

Topics from the online forum will drive content for discussion at the later GROW forum planned for July 2017
To register for the online forum, please send an email to with your name and role within the organisation. Login details will be then circulated to you. Those who have already registered are also encouraged to contribute to the forum before May 31st

Successful Presentation to Co. Cavan Men's Shed Group

GROW Regional Manager Martin Cadden recently delivered a very successful talk to Virginia Men's Shed Group in Co. Cavan. 

The presentation was held on Wednesday, March 8th and focused on positive mental health and GROW. Upwards of 25 people were in attendance, comprising not only members of the Men's Shed Group but also others from Virginia interested in positive mental health and wellbeing. 

[See also the GROW website and GROW Facebook page]

Generous Donation from Edenderry Business 

GROW recently received a very generous donation from a well-known Co. Offaly business.

Kirsty Fyanes and Paul Judge, staff members in Brendan Bergin Butchers in Edenderry, presented a cheque to Marie Jones and John Farren, Area Coordinator with GROW in Ireland’s Midland Region. The donation was the proceeds of a collection box in the shop to which the public contribute.

There has been a GROW mental health support group in Edenderry for 15 years, and for several years two groups were held weekly in the town. The current group meets in Edenderry Library each Friday.

If you wish to enquire about GROW in Edenderry contact John on 086 80033126 or come along to the group in Edenderry Library at 11am on Fridays.

[See also the GROW website, GROW Facebook Page and the Offaly Topic newspaper]

Operation Transformation Leader Joins GROW for Great Limerick Run

Operation Transformation Leader, Marie Grace, will be supporting positive mental health and wellbeing when she joins the GROW team for the Great Limerick Run.

Marie will be donning the GROW t-shirt and joining others taking part, including Area Coordinator Mary Purcell and her team, in the event on Sunday, April 30th.

If you are interested in supporting GROW and promoting positive mental health at the Great Limerick Run or other upcoming sporting events, please sign up on GROW's page on the EveryDayHero website

Among the events featured are the:  [See also the GROW website

'Helping Communities Bloom' Weekend in Dungarvan

All are being urged to come along to Dungarvan in Co. Waterford on the weekend of April 21st to 23rd for what promises to be a 'blooming' event focused on positive mental health and GROWing stronger together.

GROW's Dungarvan Group in conjunction with St. Mary's Church of Ireland will host a 'Helping Communities Bloom' weekend which will feature floral displays and afternoon tea.

It will be followed by a much-anticipated talk, co-presented by the former Governor of Mountjoy Prison and GROW PatronJohn Lonergan and Caroline Crotty, Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Area Coordinator for GROW.

The official opening of the weekend will take place at 7.30pm on Friday, March 21st. Afternoon tea will be served from 12 to 5p.m on both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free and all donations go to GROW and St. Mary's Church of Ireland.

A talk, fittingly titled 'How to be Happy and Content', will be co-delivered by John Lonergan and Caroline Crotty in St. Mary's Church of Ireland at 7.30pm on Monday, 24th April 2017.  

The talk will provide a road-map to finding happiness and contentment in your life. 'Happy people' work hard at being happy, it just doesn't happen by chance. You are guaranteed an enjoyable, relaxing evening and you might even go home with a smile on your face!

The talk is suitable for all ages and backgrounds.

[See also the GROW website]

GROW Members Take Part in Enjoyable Dublin Mountain Hike 

Knocklyon GROW Group organised a very successful and enjoyable hike of the Dublin Mountains on Saturday, March 18th. 

Held as a 12th Step activity, the hike was open to other GROW groups in the Eastern region. Some 13 people from Arklow, Ballyfermot, Knocklyon, Foxrock, Blackrock and the Regional Team took part in the climb.

Following the hike, the group had a lovely lunch and are looking forward to taking part in similar events in the future.

Thank you to Area Coordinator Izabela Morris for submitting the photo.

GROW Mid West to Take Part in Team Limerick Clean-up  

GROW Mid West will be participating in a fantastic community initiative, the Team Limerick Clean-up 2017.  

GROW members, staff, volunteers and supporters will come together from 10am to 12pm on Good Friday, April 14th to "take our responsible and caring place in society" by focusing efforts on cleaning up the area around GROW’s offices in Henry Street Limerick.

This is the third year of the Team Limerick Clean-up. In 2015, some 10,000 people turned out for a massive clean-up day in Limerick City and County in what was Ireland's largest ever one-day clean-up. Due to its success, TLC2 took place on Good Friday 2016 where the number of volunteers grew by over 3,000.

The TLC initiative is sponsored by the JP McManus Benevolent Fund and is spearheaded by Ireland and Munster rugby legend Paul O’ConnellLimerick City and County Council co-ordinates the event, with the support of Mr Binman; the Limerick Leader and Live 95FM

Come along to Henry Street on April 14th and support GROW's participation in this community initiative (and bring a friend…or two!!).   
Please contact Area Coordinator Eimear Purcell at 086 7780664 or email if you wish to get involved or require further information on GROW's Henry Street clean-up.

Six-Week Stress Control Programme in Co. Wexford

Registration is now underway for a six-week Stress Control programme being run in Co. Wexford by GROW in conjunction with the HSE and FDYS.

Taking place over six consecutive Tuesday evenings from 7.30 to 9p.m. in the Horse and Hound in BallinaboolaStress Control is a multi-session evening class for adults and commences on Tuesday, April 25th. The weekly sessions are free, however, participants are asked to contribute €10 at the first session to cover course materials.

Each week a different topic will be explored and participants will learn new coping skills and techniques. The weekly topics include:

  • Session 1:   Learning about Stress
  • Session 2:   Controlling your Body
  • Session 3:   Controlling your Thoughts – Cognitive Therapy
  • Session 4:   Controlling your Actions – Behaviour Therapy
  • Session 5:   Controlling Panic
  • Session 6:   Controlling Sleeping Problems and Controlling the Future

Stress Control was devised by Jim White, a clinical psychologist in Glasgow, to help the large number of people who complained of stress and who were keen to learn how to tackle their problems themselves.

A limited number of places are available for the course. The closing date for registration is Tuesday, April 18th. If you would like to sign up for the Stress Control course, contact FDYS Wexford, between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 053 91 23262.

[See also the GROW website]

CBS Students Scale Heights for GROW

Students from St. Mary’s CBS Portlaoise presented GROW Midlands Region with a cheque for over €850, which marked the proceeds of their sponsored walk on Friday, March 10th on Sliabh na mBan.

Heartfelt thanks is extended to St. Mary's CBS, the students, teachers who accompanied them and to Ms Stephanie Buckley for organising the fundraiser.

The photo shows the presentation of the cheque by students of St. Mary’s CBS to Ruairi Powell, Regional Manager, and John Farren, Area Coordinator.  

Introduction to GROW Course in Co. Cavan

free four-week introductory course on GROW and positive mental health is being held in Co. Cavan.

The introductory course commenced on Thursday, March 30th in the Focus Family Resource Centre in Killashandra. Due to the Easter period, the next date for this four-week programme will be confirmed as soon as possible. Check the GROW website and Facebook page for updates.

During the course, those in attendance will receive tips on improving their mental health, hear personal stories of recovery and learn how GROW weekly support meetings can help those struggling with any aspect of their mental wellbeing. The introductory course is being held with a view to establishing a new GROW Group in the area. 

GROW Area Coordinator Kathyrn Corrigan featured on Northern Sound FM where she provided details about GROW, the introductory programme and plans for the new GROW Group in Killashandra. For more details on the introductory course in Killashandra, contact Kathryn on 086 0436258.

[To listen to the Northern Sound interview click here. Also, visit the GROW website]

Sun Beams Down on Southern Regional Weekend

The sun fittingly beamed down as GROW's Southern Region gathered in Bantry, Co. Cork from March 31st to April 2nd for their Regional Weekend.

The feedback from members was very positive, with the weekend comprising a good balance of both fun and work. 

Friday night kicked off with a Mindfulness workshop by Susan Crowley from the GROW office in Cork. This was followed by a fun quiz by Jerry Cronin, Area Coordinator. Well done to Susan and Jerry as all who attended greatly enjoyed both sessions.
Saturday started with a well put-together, honest testimony which inspired all who heard it. Two speakers from outside GROW, who delivered presentations, were also thought-provoking.

Plenty of free time was provided on Saturday evening to give members time to relax or wander outside in the beautiful weather.
Sunday morning started with a remembrance for the late Amy Lalor, which was coordinated by Diarmuid Cronin, Regional Chairperson. A large crowd attended this ceremony, with thanks extended to Diarmuid.

Thank you to Area Coordinator Treasa Twomey for submitting this piece and John Lynch for the photo.

[For more see the GROW website]

Upcoming Community Education Programme in Portarlington 

The Midland Region held a five week Community Education Programme in Mullingar Parish Centre. The course was completed on March 28th. 

The next Community Education Programme will be held in Portarlington Community Centre. It starts on Tuesday, April 25th and will continue for the following four Tuesdays

The topics are:
  • Understanding and Promoting Positive Mental Health
  • Mindfulness
  • Managing Stress and Anxiety
  • Suicide Awareness and Prevention
  • How GROW Works. 
The course is free and all over 18 years of age are welcome.

[See the GROW website]

'We Acknowledged our Gifts and our Strengths'

This very powerful and reflective piece on Step 4 of the GROW Program - 'We Acknowledged our Gifts and our Strengths' has been submitted by a South East GROWer.

At GROW groups, it is not difficult to acknowledge the gifts and strengths of those sharing the circle with you.

From the comfort of your own chair, you can admire the authenticity and courage of others; you can wish you had a deep-rooted skill like what the guitar player has; or the compassion of the carer coping with untenable circumstances.

How about people with serious health issues who get on with everyday challenges regardless? Pause to imagine your fellow GROWers at a meeting. Pause to absorb this wonderful collection of kindred spirits. Their gifts, strengths and spirit pulsate an energy into the room.

Meanwhile, think of them in their chairs, doing the same. From where they are sitting, you are another one of the remarkable, gifted people bringing strength and insights to the gathering.

Sometimes you (or I) will be told precisely about a strength or gift we possess, we might pay lip service to the advice on page 64 of the Blue Book: “When anybody pays you a compliment say ‘Thank you’.

[To read more of this piece, visit the GROW blog]

GROW Delivers Presentation to LIT Social Care Students

On Monday, April 3rd GROW Area Coordinator Mary Purcell attended the Thurles campus of Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) where she delivered a presentation to Social Care students.

It was the first that GROW had been invited to give a presentation to the students of the social care programme.

The theme of the one-and-a-half hour presentation was 'Communication Around Mental Health' and focused on mental health issues, promoting positive mental wellbeing, recovery and self-care.

Regional Weekend Dates

The following are the dates for upcoming GROW Regional Weekends

The Mid West Regional Weekend will commence on April 22nd in Ennistymon, Co. Clare while the South East Regional Weekend will get underway on May 12th in New Ross, Co. Wexford.

The North West Regional Weekend will be held from May 12th to 14th in the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran, Co. Donegal. 

The West Regional Weekend will be held from June 2nd to 4th at Esker Retreat House, Athenry in Co. Galway. The East Regional Weekend will take place from June 30th to July 2nd in the Glendalough Hotel in Co. Wicklow.


GROW and Positive Mental Health Talk in Co. Monaghan

GROW held a talk on Positive Mental Health using the GROW Program in the Iontas Centre, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan on March 28th.

Those in attendance received tips on improving their mental health and wellbeing, stress management and details of the supports available.

GROW Area Coordinator Kathryn Corrigan spoke about the event on Northern Sound FM. Listen back to the interview here

[Also, see the GROW website]

GROW Presentation to UL Occupational Therapy Students

GROW Mid West Area Coordinators Eimear Purcell and Mary Purcell delivered a presentation recently to students at the University of Limerick (UL).

The two-hour presentation was delivered to post-graduate students studying for a Masters in Science in Occupational Therapy

The first hour of the presentation focused on self-care, occupational stress and coping with exam stress. The second hour was about GROW, the GROW Program and promoting positive mental health and recovery.

Warm Welcome to Alan

A warm welcome is extended to Alan Keaveney, who has been appointed as an Area Coordinator in the Western Region

Alan had been carrying out group support and will be working mainly in Galway City

GROW Represented at Workplace Wellbeing Event

For the second time, GROW was among the organisations invited to partake in a workplace wellbeing event at Lufthansa Technik in Shannon.

The event focused not only on physical wellness but also on positive mental health and nurturing mental and emotional wellbeing in the workplace.

GROW had an information stand at the event and, as reflected by Area Coordinator Mary Purcell, there was an excellent and very positive response to GROW from all those in attendance.

Number of Workplace Presentations in the Midlands

Midland Area Coordinators Assumpta Lyons and John Farren recently delivered a number of free GROW Stress Management in the Workplace presentations.

A presentation was given on March 9th to the staff of Sonas Retirement Village in AthlonePortlaoise Parish Centre was the next venue, with a talk delivered to the staff of Ballard Lodge Nursing Home on March 21st. The staff of the Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland in Longford received the presentation on March 30th. 

Information Evening in Killybegs

GROW hosted an information evening in the Niall Mor Enterprise Centre in Killybegs, Co. Donegal on Monday, April 3rd.

During the event, those in attendance received information on fostering positive mental health while also learning more about GROW’s free weekly support meetings.

GROW holds 120 peer support group meetings in communities across Ireland each week including Dungloe, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Stranorlar, Donegal town, Cardonagh and Killybegs. GROW meetings are open to those aged over 18 and are free to attend.

[See coverage in Donegal Now and the Donegal Democrat. Also, see the GROW website]

Meeting About Relaunch of GROW Mountmellick Group

The Midland region of GROW held an information meeting in Mountmellick last month in relation to re-launching a free weekly support group in the area.

For 13 years, a vigorous GROW group meeting was held in Mountmellick. The group is now in recess, but there have been requests for it to re-open.

As a result, an information meeting was held in Mountmellick Development Association’s premises in Irishtown, Mountmellick on Thursday, March 23rd.

If you wish to know more about GROW or the Mountmellick Group, contact John on 086 8033126.

[Also see the GROW website and coverage in the Leinster Express]

Stress Management Workshops in Donegal

Large numbers attended two free workshops on managing stress in Co. Donegal in March. Both workshops were organised by GROW and took place on March 7th in Buncrana and March 23rd in Letterkenny.

The topics included:

  • Understanding your Mental Health
  • Managing Stress
  • Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • GROW and How it Works

[See coverage of the workshops in the Donegal Democrat and Donegal Now]

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