Four Northern Ireland community projects have been awarded a share of £620k of safefood funding to transform the shopping and healthy eating habits of low-income communities across the region.
safefood is funding 13 community projects across the island of Ireland over the next three years as part of its Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme 2022-2024.
The investment aims to help each of the project to set up, manage and sustain their own community food scheme aimed at positively influencing healthy eating habits of residents by developing their skills and knowledge around food, healthier shopping and cooking skills.
Welcoming the new projects, Ray Dolan, Chief Executive safefood, said: “The work of Community Food Initiatives has never been more important. We face rising food and living costs and the pressure that puts on low-income families in eating a healthy, balanced diet while meeting other essential household expenses.
“The projects joining our CFI programme today put healthy eating on the agenda in local communities and can improve family health, tackle inequality, and change people’s lives for the better. By focusing on skills and knowledge in relation to food, this can have a transformative effect on families across the island of Ireland.”
Among the ground-breaking projects that received funding are the New Lodge Duncairn Community Health Partnership in Belfast, which plans to expand on a successful previous round of CFI programme funding that delivered 12 programmes for 157 families and 1,374 family meals. The Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre plans to investigate novel ways of sharing good practice and delivering community food and nutrition programmes to families in Derry~Londonderry.
The funding will also support County Armagh Community Development, which plans to encourage healthier eating among children by building parenting skills to ensure healthy choices are made, as well as the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Co Fermanagh, which will focus on helping those most in need to gain skills in healthy eating, cooking and meal planning.
Speaking about their involvement in the Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme 2022-2024, George McGowan, Project Director of The Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre, said: “The CFI programme presents a great opportunity for The Old Library Trust to educate and empower local people who will then be in a better position to provide healthier food options for themselves and their families. The Old library Trust will investigate novel ways of showcasing, implementing, sharing good practice, and delivering community food and nutrition programmes to young parents, individuals, and grandparents, all of whom play a vital role in the eating habits & lifestyle of our children.”
The CFIs (Community Food Initiatives) will be administered at a local level by South & East Cork Area Development (SECAD) CLG.
Ryan Howard Chief Executive SECAD said: “We are delighted that safefood has entrusted us with the role of coordinator for the Community Food Initiative (CFI) 2022-24. We have designed the CFI in a manner that fits well within existing local development structures and supports. Each project itself provides an exemplar for others to follow, and these can inform safefood in terms of inputting into current and future policy development on the island of Ireland.”
For more information on The Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme 2022-2024 visit: www.safefood.net/community-food-initiatives.