Sólás Northern Ireland

Trefoil supported a vocational training initiative for teens with special needs, aged 14 and over, in Belfast. The project teaches young people to grow their own vegetables using “aquaponics” technology, and then sell their produce to local restaurants and markets.

Sólás Northern Ireland

May 2016


Sólás was set up in 2009 to serve the education and social development of children and young people with additional needs. The project, which is known as 'The Patch’, forms part of Sólás’ social enterprise initiatives. The aim of the ‘Patch’ project is to support students with additional needs transitioning from secondary school, to develop skills in growing and enterprise. The young people use aquaponics technology to grow chillies and other produce. They then process the chillies into sauces for sale to local businesses. The young people have developed new vocational abilities. Their team working and communication skills have improved and they have built on skills acquired in school.

“The Patch project has promoted positive change in the teens involved. There have been positive therapeutic effects, an increase in self esteem, confidence and a growing sense of independence.” – Grace Clydesdale, Programme Coordinator, Sólás