NORTHERN Area Community Network in Cushendall is one of five Northern Ireland community projects to be awarded a share of over £500k worth of funding over the next three years aimed at improving health through food in low-income communities.
The investment has been made by safefood as part of its Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme 2019-21 which aims to positively influence the eating habits of families in disadvantaged communities of Northern Ireland by enhancing food skills and making healthy food more accessible.
safefood is investing a total of £538,000 in 14 community projects across the island of Ireland.
Ray Dolan, Chief Executive safefood said: “Our Community Food Initiatives are amazing examples of how investing in local communities can make a tangible difference to people’s lives, not only for today but for the future.
“The community-led approach has the potential to positively influence the food habits of families which can impact on health, from childhood through to adult life. These projects help increase knowledge around food and healthy eating, teach healthier shopping and enhanced cooking skills and give those in need the confidence to make a start and stick with it. These are real skills that can benefit an entire community.
“safefood has been funding community food projects on the island of Ireland for over six years and these have helped upwards of 30,000 people during that time. The new funding stream announced will build on that legacy and we look forward to these projects acting as champions in our local communities and beyond.”
Discussing the work at Northern Area Community Network, Breige Conway, Manager said: “Northern Area Community Networ partnership are delighted to begin their first CFI involving the local community and primary schools in the Mid Glens area in raising awareness of healthy eating, cooking skills and food wastage.”
The Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme 2019-2021 will be administered at a local level by SECAD Partnership CLG.
Ryan Howard, Chief Executive, SECAD said “We are delighted that we are once again coordinating the Community Food Initiatives on behalf of safefood and are looking forward to working in partnership with groups in local communities to develop new approaches to raising awareness around healthy living and eating.
“Our CFI leaders are drawn from a range of local development groups who have wide experience of working with families. They will develop programmes that will create opportunities for people to improve their skills in relation to planning, purchasing and preparing better quality meals for themselves and their families in a sustainable, affordable fashion.
“The approaches and innovations developed will be shared throughout the three years with other communities, service providers and stakeholders to improve awareness of the benefits of incorporating healthy eating programmes into their own work plans.”
Since first launched in 2010, 30 communities on the island to date have received funding from safefood under successive Community Food Initiatives programmes.
A key feature of the programme is that learnings and experiences from previous programmes are shared among the new projects. New projects are also encouraged and supported to enhance the long-term sustainability of their project from the outset.