This month's New Year newsletter focuses on the GROW in Ireland Forum 2017, festive events including a hugely successful concert in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary in support of GROW and Step One of the GROW Program.
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January 2017 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

GROW in Ireland 2017 Forum

GROW in Ireland is organising a forum for mid 2017. Up until 2004, GROW in Ireland held a biennial forum. The forum provided an opportunity for all strands of the organisation to get together and discuss issues of interest as well as forward planning and future projects.  

As with previous forums, our hope for the 2017 event is to have all corners of the organisation represented - GROW members and employees, Board and Regional Teams, Program Team and volunteers.

Bringing all the different strands of the organisation together will enable us to look back and to set realistic, achievable goals going forward.

Coming together offers us a means of listening, learning and rediscovering together. We can look at how to offer mutual support in the various ideals and goals we are all striving for and which together makes our organisation more complete. It is a means of strengthening our connecting links, reminding us that ‘you alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone'.

As a first part of this process, we have set up a private online forum where we are inviting all stakeholders to have their say. After three months of activity, we will then be in a position to see what the key topics are and these will then drive the content for discussion at the forum event.

To register your interest in this activity, please send an email to with your name and role within the organisation and login details will be circulated to you. 
Rob Stephen, Chairperson, GROW in Ireland


Ormond Octaves Raise Voices and Funds for GROW

The Ormond Octaves four-part choir, under the superb direction and guidance of its founder Niamh Ryan, decked the halls with music and song when they performed in St. Mary's of the Rosary Church, Nenagh on Friday, December 9th in aid of GROW Mid West.

Each year, since the choir was founded in 2008, they have very generously donated the proceeds of their annual Christmas concert to various charities and GROW Mid West was the very grateful recipient of almost €3,500 this time.

Tommy (Regional Chairperson GROW Mid West) and Mackey, two loyal and faithful members of the Nenagh GROW group, are members of the choir. Tommy suggested GROW Mid West as a charity that could benefit from the proceeds of the concert a couple of years ago, but other charities had got there before him. Not a man to give up easily, Tommy renewed the request each year until he got the green light and what a night it was!

The concert was superb in every way. The surroundings and acoustics in St. Mary's made it a magical place to appreciate this wonderful choir. The Church was packed to capacity, with GROWers from all over the region in attendance, as all eagerly awaited the performance and were not disappointed. In fact, those in attendance were spellbound from beginning to end. 

A sincere thanks to Tommy and Mackey for making this happen, to Niamh and the choir for their generosity, to the people of Nenagh and surrounding areas for their support of the evening and to the many GROWers who travelled from far and wide to share in what was a truly lovely evening.

[For more see the GROW website

GROW in Full Festive Voice at Limerick Carol Fundraiser

On December 19th, GROWers gathered in the Crescent Shopping Centre in Limerick for, what has now become, an annual carol singing fundraiser.  

Following weeks of preparations and with Santa hats in abundance, those assembled sang their hearts out with the help of musician Noel Kelly.  An extra bonus on the night was Eimear Purcell, GROW's new Area Coordinator in the Mid West, who was armed with a guitar and a mighty singing voice.  

The shopping centre was quieter than usual but that did not stop the troupe from having a great night. The support from all the GROW staff was especially welcome, with Mary, Christine, Joan and James all singing merrily along.  

The event was the proof that 'what you get out of the GROW Program depends exactly on how much you put into it'. The carol singing has become an annual event and provides a great opportunity to 'carry GROW's message to others in need'.

The carol singing raised €435 and sincere thanks is extended to all those who so generously supported the event. 

[See also the GROW website]

Visit to Cork Region by Minister McEntee

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee TD paid a visit to the HSE offices in Mary’s Road, Cork where she extended her condolences to the families of those recently deceased by suicide in Cork.

During her visit,the Minister met with representatives from the HSE and local community and mental health agencies, including GROW, to hear about the work that is being done in relation to mental health, suicide awareness and prevention.

The Minister addressed the group, thanking everyone for their contribution to the community in the area of mental health and spoke of her own experience of being bereaved.

GROW Area Coordinator Finola O’Callaghan attended this meeting and got the opportunity to meet with Minister McEntee and tell her about the value of the work which is being carried out by GROW in the area of promoting positive mental health, recovery and the preventative work that we do. 

Overcoming Shyness and Step One of the GROW Program

The piece titled 'Don't Be Shy About Being Shy' is linked to Step One of the GROW Program: 'We admitted we had lost our way and needed direction'.
My life from when I left school until I joined GROW was crippled by shyness. I want to start by saying that shyness is extremely common.

It is sometimes called social anxiety. My own label was pathological shyness. It was a condition that really interfered with my life. It stopped me being able to concentrate because I would be lost in an overwhelming range of intense feelings. These included fear, embarrassment, foolishness, shame, powerlessness, frustration and sometimes anger.

It stopped me being able to mix with people so I would tend to spend most of my time on my own. It stopped me having a clear goal for the future because whatever I thought of involved people and threw up too many barriers. 
Nothing really helped me with my shyness until I came to GROW. I did manage to find and keep jobs and friends, but there was always this great threat hovering in the background. The first things that helped I think were parts of the GROW Program. One about being over controlled and another, a short one, that simply stated - 'don’t be shy about being shy'.  

[To read more of this piece written by Mike Watts, visit the GROW blog]

Christmas Night Out in the Mid West

A great night out was had by all in the Mid West at the Christmas Party in the Pery Hotel on December 13th, with 40 GROWers gathering together to celebrate the spirit of friendship and the end of another great year of 'GROWing'.

Rob Stephen was presented with a poem by Rose who has become our enthusiastic Mid West poet to thank him for the time he spent as Chairperson of the Regional Team. The presentation was made by the Region's new Chairperson Tommy Kennedy.

A presentation was also made to James O'Halloran, as a special thank you from all the GROWers, and to wish him the best of luck in his new adventure.
After something to eat and a surprise visit from Santa, the night continued with GROWers being joined by the GROW staff. Everyone left feeling happy and seasonal and looking forward to 2017 and a new year in the GROW story.
Many thanks to Sharon and Rose who organised the night out.

[Also, see the GROW website]

Very Enjoyable GROW Eastern Region Christmas Party

The GROW Eastern Region Christmas Party at the Talbot Hotel in Stillorgan on December 10th was a great social event, which was enjoyed by all.

Getting underway at 7pm, some 47 people attended the festive gathering including GROW Area Coordinators Leo Pattison and Izabela Morris.

The groups represented were Ballyfermot, Pimlico, Knocklyon, Portobello, Bray, Kimmage, Foxrock and  Blackrock. GROWers would like to thank Gerry for organising the bus. 

Midland Festive Gathering

Over 20 people gathered for the annual GROW Midland Christmas gathering in the Radison Blu in Athlone. 

The lunch and festive get-together got underway at 1pm on Saturday, December 10th and was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. The venue for the gathering - the Radisson Blu - was also the location of the GROW National Weekend and is very popular among GROWers.

Looking to the year ahead, the lunch was followed by a Regional Team meeting.

The Regional Team, management and staff would like to thank all those GROWers who came along to the Christmas lunch.

Ballyfermot Concert Helps to Bring GROW's Message to Others in Need

GROW’s Ballyfermot group helped to spread GROW’s message of positive mental health and recovery at a fundraising festive concert which not only featured seasonal music but two GROW information stands.
Information about GROW was also provided during intervals in the concert, held in Ballyfermot, and seven members of the local GROW group were in attendance - Father Stan, Ethel, Cilia, Martin, Dan, Mary and Erin as well as Area Coordinator, Izabela Morris.
Over €300 was raised for GROW at the event. Sincere thanks is extended to the GROW group members who attended and to all those who supported the event. 

Every Good Wish for 2017 from the GROW Newsletter Team

From all in GROW and the GROW Newsletter Team, we would like to extend every good wish to you all for 2017 and to thank you for subscribing to the GROW Newsletter

We would also like to thank all those who contributed articles and photos over the past 12 months. 

We look forward to working with you all again in the coming weeks and months.

Remember, if any of your family or friends wish to subscribe to the GROW Newsletter, they can do so on the GROW website
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