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Markethill community project ‘delighted’ as it takes bite out of £620k ‘safefood’ pot

County Armagh Community Development plans to encourage healthier eating among children by building parenting skills to ensure healthy choices are made

Toni McCaul, SECAD; Fiona Smyth, County Armagh Community Development in Armagh; Fionnuala Dunleavy, New Lodge Duncairn Community Health Partnership in Belfast; Julie White, Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre in Derry~Londonderry; Jenny Irvine, the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Enniskillen; and Joana Da Silva, safefood.

A Markethill-based community project has been awarded a share of £620,000 to help promote healthy eating.

County Armagh Community Development is one of of four Northern Ireland community projects to benefit from safefood funding to transform the shopping and healthy eating habits of low-income communities across the region.

safefood is investing in 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 funding 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.

County Armagh Community Development plans to encourage healthier eating among children by building parenting skills to ensure healthy choices are made.

David McMullen, Project Co-ordinator, said the funding will have a huge impact.

He explained: “As a grassroots community development organisation, County Armagh Community Development understand the importance of whole family health and how nutrition plays a key role in development, and we are delighted to be delivering this project in the Southern Trust area.

“Clearly if we are to persuade children to eat more healthily it is necessary to build parenting skills to ensure healthy choices are being made in relation to purchasing and preparation of food.

“The importance of making the right choices has been highlighted by issues arising from the Covid 19 Pandemic with community having an even bigger role to play in raising awareness on how to prepare healthy nutritious food.”

Welcoming the new projects, Ray Dolan, Chief Executive of 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.”

The funding will also support The Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre in Derry~Londonderry, which plans to investigate novel ways of sharing good practice and delivering community food and nutrition programmes to families in Derry~Londonderry, as well as the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Enniskillen, which will focus on helping those most in need to gain skills in healthy eating, cooking and meal planning.

The New Lodge Duncairn Community Health Partnership in Belfast 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 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.

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