This month's newsletter focuses on Step 12 of the GROW Program. It includes details of events which took place during November, upcoming events in December, practical advice for minding your mental health over the festive season and seasonal good wishes.
Donate Now »
Friend on Facebook Find us on Facebook
Follow on Twitter Follow us on Twitter
Forward to Friend Forward to a Friend

December 2016 GROW in Ireland Newsletter

Christmas Wishes from GROW's CEO and National Program Coordinator

With Christmas and the New Year almost upon us, it is fitting to reflect on the past year and to express our sincere and heartfelt thanks to you all for your kindness and support over the last 12 months.

Both Christine and myself also wish to thank you for helping to spread GROW's important message of positivity, hope and recovery. This message is particularly significant at this time of year.

We wish to extend every good wish and blessing this Christmas and New Year to you, your family, friends and loved ones. We look forward to working with you again in 2017 in "carrying GROW's message to others in need".

Michele Kerrigan, CEO, and Christine Fitzgerald, National Program Coordinator 

'We Carried GROW's Message to Others in Need'

This piece on Step 12 of the GROW Program has been submitted from the Mid West.

When we help someone then it is nice when that person returns the favour. We may not always see the signs of a person requiring assistance so we need to offer a helping hand.

We do this while promoting GROW in a number of ways. This can be done on a one-to-one basis, where it is possible to make a friendly connection with somebody who may benefit from a GROW meeting.

Secondly, we tell the public about GROW by involving ourselves in promotional, fundraising or social activities which unites people and allows their shared experiences to aid the recovery of others with similar struggles.

Volunteerism is a stronghold of GROW as it encourages inclusion and equality in society.

This additional piece on 'Carrying GROW's Message to Others in Need' has been submitted as a Cork paper.

Step 12, being at the end of the 12 Steps, is not an accident. It’s only if we take time to reflect on the wording that we can know its true meaning. The two words “GROW's Message” hold the key. There are numerous ways in which “We Carry GROW's Message to Others in Need'

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


Next Step in GROW's PQASSO Journey

GROW in Ireland commenced working on Quality Area 8 – Managing Resources in April 2012. We have now completed our self-assessments in all 12 of the quality areas. It has taken us four-and-a-half years to complete the process. 

The PQASSO core team has worked very hard and diligently over those years with representatives from the Board, management, area coordinators, administration staff and service users, all under the careful mentoring of Dermot O’Donnell from the Disability Federation of Ireland.     

We submitted our desktop review to the Charities Evaluation Services in the UK on October 26th, 2016 and are delighted to say that our Lead Assessor has informed us that GROW in Ireland has passed the desktop review and is now ready for the site visit.

The site visit began on November 29th and 30th and continues on December 1st, 2016 when we will welcome the assessor Kevin Smith.

National Chairperson Rob Stephen Named 'Volunteer of the Year'

The following piece has been kindly submitted by Mid West Area Coordinator, Mary Purcell. Mary's words reflect those of all of us in GROW. 

On Friday last, November 25th, I had the privilege of representing GROW Mid West at a breakfast event in GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) in Shannon, Co. Clare for the charities who had received funding during the past year.

It was a lovely morning, with presentations from the Limerick Homeless Service and the Assistive Technology Unit at University of Limerick.

Our recently-elected National Chairperson, Rob Stephen, who is an employee of GECAS and very obviously a well-respected and highly-valued one, was presented with a 'Volunteer of the Year' award at the event.

Those of us who have worked with Rob in the Mid West over the years can attest to the appropriateness of this award and congratulate him on receiving it. Well done Rob! 

[See also the GROW website]

Very Positive Response to Workplace Programme at DoneDeal

GROW recently visited DoneDeal's headquarters in Wexford town to deliver the Workplace Programme.

Upwards of 25 staff members from DoneDeal were in attendance at the workshop, delivered by Area Coordinator Ellen Ryle on November 17th.

The presentation was very well received and followed DoneDeal's very generous donation to GROW earlier this year.

Emer LindsayOffice Manager at DoneDeal, emphasised how the presentation had been both informative and thought-provoking.

'We were delighted to welcome Ellen to our offices on November 17th and the feedback afterwards from staff was very positive. The talk definitely got everyone thinking and struck a chord with many who were in attendance, touching on different issues and situations. 

"The importance of striking a balance between work, leisure, family and friends and focusing on setting priorities was very evident. I have no doubt everyone benefited from the presentation and Ellen's visit," she said.

In July, GROW was among three charities to each receive €12,259 from DoneDeal as part of its Charity Month initiative.

Successful GROW Southern Region Workshops

The GROW Southern Region held the second of their bi-annual GROW workshops on Saturday, November 5th at The Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig.

The theme of the workshops was Step 10: “We took our responsible and caring place in society”

There were four excellent, inspiring and motivational Leadership Testimonies delivered by Mary Brennan, Regional Chair; John from the Gurranabraher group; Zameel from the Youghal group; Diarmuid from the Thursday night group and Michael from the Wednesday morning group.

Each testimony highlighted how each of the presenters grew personally and developed by taking on leadership roles within the organisation. All described how challenging it was initially to “have the courage to make mistakes”, but also that in giving, you too receive.

[For more see the GROW website]

Evening of Positivity and Hope in Waterford

GROW took part in an evening of positivity and hope in Waterford on November 17th.

Hosted by Waterford Women's Support Network, the theme of the evening was "Positive Mental Health Awareness and Connecting With Those Affected By Suicide".  

Open to all and free to attend, the event included presentations by a number of organisations including a very informative and insightful talk by GROW Area Coordinator Caroline Crotty.

Representatives from the SamaritansShinePieta HouseHealing Prana Holistic CentreWaterford Marine Search and Rescue, HSE and Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life (Mindfulness) were also in attendance at the event, held at the Edmund Rice Heritage Centre in Waterford from 7-9.15pm.

GROW wishes to thank Jo Cregan of Waterford Women's Support Network for inviting Caroline to speak on the evening. The event provided an opportunity to raise awareness of GROW's meeting which takes place on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm at St. Bridget's Centre, Lower Yellow Road, Waterford.

Eastern Region Christmas Party 

GROW groups from the Eastern Region will get into the festive spirit when they gather for their Christmas Party at 7pm on Saturday, December 10th in the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan, Dublin.
The three-course meal costs members €20. If they wish, members are also asked to bring along a gift worth €5 for Kris Kindle.

Special thanks are extended to Leo and to Sue from Foxrock for booking the venue, organising the Kris Kindle and exchange of gifts, arranging for the elfs to take time out of their busy schedule as well as lining up the decorations, Christmas crackers and the raffle etc.

[See also the GROW website

GROW Groups Take Part in Christmas Shoebox Appeal

GROW's Arklow, Gorey 1 and Wexford groups are delighted to be lending their support to this year’s Christmas box appeal in aid of Team Hope
Team Hope is an Irish, Christian development aid charity, which works with children, their families and communities, mainly across Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Africa.
GROW Area Coordinator Ellen Ryle emphasised how "it's great to see the groups carry GROW's message of kindness and consideration".

Ellen also encouraged other groups to consider taking part in the shoebox appeal in the future. "Imagine how many other children we could help by brightening up their Christmas," she added.

Pictured are the Arklow and Wexford groups. 

[For more details and additional photos see the GROW website]

Looking After Yourself This Christmas - An Article by Caroline

This article, featuring tips and advice about looking after yourself this Christmas, has been kindly submitted by South East Area Coordinator, Caroline Crotty.
Every year there are articles with hints and tips on how to enjoy or survive Christmas. Marketed as a joyful time for many, Christmas can also be lonely and stressful.  
As one year ends, we may hold in our minds memories of those who have died or are absent from our lives. We may lament not having children for Santa to visit or lament the enormous demands being placed on Santa by our children. 
We may be hoping that 2016 will end as fast as possible so that we can start a fresh new hopeful year. Or we could be bursting for Christmas to come so we have family or friends around us, have fun and celebrate. In short, people have very mixed emotions around this time of year. 
To reduce stress levels, it is helpful to plan ahead. Take control of your worries by asking yourself ‘what can I do about this right now?' or ‘what exactly am I worried about?’ or ‘will this matter next year?’
[To read more of this article, visit the GROW website]

‘Recovery Through Peer Support’ - NUIG Social Care Seminar

GROW in Galway recently took part in a seminar at NUI Galway entitled 'The Breadth and Depth of Social Care Practice'. The event was hosted by the Health Promotion and Social Care Department.

GROW’s contribution focused on the concept of peer support and recovery in mental health. The talk summarised the history of recovery in mental health and present-day initiatives in the mental health services – in particular the Advancing Recovery in Ireland project.

The overall theme of the talk focused on how GROW fits into this current mental health landscape.

Attendees were given a general overview of GROW and its history and how peer-led support groups are a cornerstone of GROW’s mission.

Pictured are: Photo 1: Paul Clabby (GROW Area Co-ordinator) speaking on the topic of 'Recovery through Peer Support'; Photo 2 (l to r): Lorraine Lydon (GROW Western Regional Chairperson), Ruairi Powell (GROW Regional Manager), Dr. Martin Power (NUIG Health Promotion Dept.), Alan (GROW Member Galway) and Paul Clabby (GROW Area Coordinator).

[For more see the GROW website and Facebook page]

Very Well-Received GROW Presentation at Co-op AGM

GROW Regional Manager Martin Cadden gave an excellent talk on positive mental health and the supports provided by GROW at a special event organised to coincide with the Annual General Meeting of Oldcastle Co-op in Co. Meath.

The presentation on promoting positive mental health was held in Caffrey's, immediately after the Co-op's AGM, on November 11th. Local companies, groups and clubs were invited to the talk, with 26 people attending on the night.

The presentation was very well received, with excellent feedback from those in attendance, and is expected to become the first in a series of presentations on mental health organised by the Co-op.

"We feel that as a locally-based business, it is important to provide support on this subject (looking after your mental health) for the community. One in four people are directly affected by mental health issues, whether it is themselves, a family member or close friend," according to Oldcastle Co-op.

You can read feedback about the event on Oldcastle Co-op's Facebook page.


Midlands Christmas Dinner

The Midlands Region Christmas Dinner will take place in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Athlone on Saturday, December 10th at 1pm. 

It is hoped that many members from all over the Midlands region will attend.

The Radisson Blu was the venue for the National Weekend this year and is very popular among GROWers.

NUIG Students Take Part in Regional Newsletter Project

GROW's Western Regional Team has just finished a project to formulate a quarterly newsletter for the Western Region. Instrumental to this project were a small team of student volunteers from NUI Galway

Each year a selection of 2nd Year Commerce students from NUIG get the chance to work with various voluntary organisations on projects they are planning. This year one of the projects chosen was GROW’s plan for developing a regional newsletter.

The purpose of the newsletter project was to formulate a draft newsletter that would deliver the core message of GROW to others in the Western Region, in a way that was engaging and informative.

The GROW Western Regional Team would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank Alex, David, Michael, Darren and Conor for their assistance.

Pictured are members of the GROW Western Regional Team with 2nd Year NUIG Commerce Student volunteers, upon completion of the Western Newsletter project.

[To read more, visit the GROW website]

GROW Supports Cork Institute of Technology's Mental Health Week

GROW promoted positive mental health, wellbeing and recovery during Cork Institute of Technology's annual Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Organised by the CIT Students' Union, a series of events were held from Tuesday, November 8th to Thursday, November 10th. The key messages of the week were 'it's okay not to be okay', 'talking is a sign of strength' and 'please talk'.

A special video was created by the Students' Union featuring organisations including GROW. You can view the video at this link

Pictured are Ruth O'Leary, Vice President of the Students' Union and other members of the CIT Students' Union Team.

[See also the GROW website

Limerick Nutrition and Physical Health Programme 

The benefits of nutrition and physical health on mental health and wellbeing formed the basis of an eight-week programme in Limerick.

The following is a piece from Area Coordinator, Mary Purcell, on the very successful eight week programme.

16 people from GROW in the Mid West gathered in the GROW building in 33 Henry Street, Limerick to meet with Alan Loftus, Sports Physiotherapist to embark on an eight-week programme based on good nutrition and healthy physical activity.

The programme was delivered under the guidance of Alan and his colleague, Darragh Droog, who works at Delta Sports Dome, Ballysimon, Limerick.

The initial group was 16 and 12 completed six weeks in the gym and met back in the GROW office on the last week to evaluate the programme.

There was a resounding YES, it had been great fun, great exercise, great motivation to get up on a Monday morning and great because we did it together…stronger together!

The group had all grown in confidence, we wanted to keep going. The initial plan is to meet as a group on Mondays and to go for a walk. 

It has been a very worthwhile experience for all involved, made possible by funds received from the Garda Trainees in the Garda Training College, Templemore, Co. Tipperary and GECAS, Shannon (where our National Chairperson, Rob Stephen, works). James Quilligan, Regional Manager, Mid West gave his support to the plan and brought Alan and Darragh on board.

[To read more and see more photos, visit the GROW website]

Mindfulness - A Blog by Maria

Area Coordinator Maria Whelan very kindly submitted a very interesting and insightful blog post on Mindfulness for the GROW website.

Sincere thanks to Maria for penning this blog post.

If you would like to write a blog post for the GROW website, please contact Communications Officer Aisling on

[To read Maria's blog article, visit the GROW website]

GROW at Donegal Farm Health and Safety Event 

GROW was among the organisations represented at a farm health, safety and security 'walk and talk' event in Co. Donegal.

The Ramelton farm of award-winning dairy farmer John Speer provided the setting for the event on TuesdayNovember 15th which featured a range of speakers as well as a practical walk, talk and risk assessment session.

The free public event took place from 12.30 to 3pm at the Ramelton Road farm, located beside Castleshanaghan National School.

Speakers on the day included Michael Chance from the Irish Farmers Association (IFA); William Gaffney from the Health and Safety Authority; Bill Vaughan, Mental Health Ireland and Garda Sergeant Paul Wallace. There was also presentations by Mabel Russell, IFA Farm Families Representative and Andrew McNamee from Teagasc among others.

A number of organisations including GROW had information stands at the event.

[Also see the GROW website]

'Don't Turn out the Light' CD Launch in aid of GROW

A CD launch was recently launched in Galway city, with the aim of raising awareness about mental health and the supports available. 

The launch of the CD, "Don't Turn out the Light" by Gerry Kennedy, was held in OMG@Zhivago in Shop Street, Galway as a fundraiser for GROW and Pieta House. 

The launch event, which was open to the public and hosted by GROW, included guest presentations by Paul Clabby, Area Coordinator with GROW, and Tom McEvoy from Pieta House

Reaching Out to Others - The Importance of GROW's 12th Step Work

'12th Step Work' is a key element of GROW. This piece has been submitted from the South East.

12th Step Work involves both the GROW Community and the wider society we live in. Firstly, staying in touch with our fellow group members between meetings is vital. 

A friendly phone-call or meeting up for a coffee can help a GROWer through a difficult week. It reminds us that we have become part of a community of people that want the best for us and believe in our recovery.

This helps motivate us to attend the weekly meetings and slowly build connecting links based on trust and mutual support.
[To read more, visit the GROW Website

Arklow Group - One Step at a Time

In January, the Arklow GROW group decided to take one of GROW's 12 Steps every month during 2016 to reflect upon.

This meant that for one week during that month the group would choose a reading related to the Step they had chosen for the month.

As recalled by Jacinta: "At our Christmas Party last year, one of the fun questions was ‘In GROW, what is Step 6?’. To my shame I realised that not only did I not know Step 6 but I would be hard pressed to recite any of the other Steps.

"This was in spite of the fact that in the opening routine we had the ‘Reading of the Twelve Steps’ every week. When the group decided to tackle getting to know a Step a month I was delighted," she explained.

[To read more of this piece, visit the GROW website

Young Adult Presentation at Portlaoise CBS

GROW Area Coordinator John Farren delivered a very-well received Young Adult Presentation in Portlaoise.

In the region of 50 students were in attendance at the presentation at the CBS Boys Secondary School on November 15th. 

The presentation formed part of the school's Promoting Positive Mental Health Week.

Passages from Dr. Fergus Heffernan's Presentation at National Weekend

Many in attendance at GROW's National Weekend requested some images and key points from Dr. Fergus Heffernan's presentation. An extract from his presentation is featured below. Further insights and images from his presentation are available on the GROW blog. 

Living in the Moment:
The moment is the best place you can be. Even if the moment is bad, you need to sit with it. How much of our day is spent on anxiety or worrying about something that hasn’t happened or ruminating about things that have happened. If you get stuck in the emotional brain, over time you forget to live in the logical brain. It’s analysis that creates paralysis.

Write down a list of what you are worrying about. Cross off the things you can’t do anything about. Then find the one thing that you can do something about. Procrastination feeds anxiety.

[To read more, visit the GROW Blog

Festive Wishes from GROW's Newsletter Team

The GROW Newsletter Team extends every good wish and blessing to you all over the Christmas and New Year period.

We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for submitting articles and photos for the newsletter over the past year and for subscribing to the GROW monthly newsletter.

Please continue to encourage your family and friends to subscribe to the GROW newsletter. 

Thank you once again and we look forward to working with you all in 2017. 

Copyright © 2016 GROW in Ireland, All rights reserved.
Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences | © Copyright GROW in Ireland 2015 Charity No. 20023294