Avondhu Blackwater Partnership community food project

30 May 2016
By Elaine Murphy
elaine@TheCork.ie

A Cork county community food project has been announced as one of 13 all island projects to receive funding from safefood for the 2016-18 Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme launched last week. The CFI programme is designed to positively influence the eating habits of families in low income communities by making food skills more mainstream and healthy food more accessible.

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Avondhu Blackwater Partnership from Castletownroche aims to work with disadvantaged families and young people to encourage and support them to make informed decisions regarding their diet and that of their families by focusing on nutrition, food shopping, meal planning and preparation.

Each Community Food Initiative will receive funding annually over a period of three years to set up, manage and sustain their project, with safefood investing up to €30,000 per project.

Welcoming the new projects, Ray Dolan, Chief Executive safefood said “The work of Community Food Initiatives (CFIs) demonstrate how investing in communities can help with influencing healthier food choices and learning lifelong skills; this community-led approach has the potential to positively impact on health from childhood right through to adult life. At safefood, we have been funding community food projects on the island of Ireland for over six years and these have helped upwards of 40,000 people by offering real and practical help in the local area and beyond.”

“This new funding stream will build on those previous programmes and support existing facilities and structures that are present at local level. As well as increasing awareness and knowledge around healthy eating, we look forward to these projects acting as local champions to promote initiatives for example, healthy shopping, improved meal-planning and budgeting as well as enhanced cooking skills. All of these are tangible, transferable skills that can benefit an entire community.”

The CFIs will be administered at a local level by South & East Cork Area Development (SECAD). Speaking at the launch, Ryan Howard, Chief Executive, SECAD said “We are delighted to be working with safefood on the 2016-2018 Community Food Initiative. As a Local Development Organisation with over twenty years’ experience, we have gathered expertise and knowledge in the formation and facilitation of local collaborations between communities and service providers. The purpose of these collaborations is to creatively address issues that cannot be solved by any one stakeholder or approach. The challenge being proposed by the CFI is to improve the levels of nutrition in the diets of lower income families and individuals across the Island of Ireland.”

“We will be managing the CFI with the support of a range of local development groups to trial different approaches to help raise awareness of the issues and encourage the exploration of opportunities to improve people’s skills to plan, purchase and prepare better quality meals for themselves and their families in a sustainable, affordable fashion. Ultimately we aim to develop a number of approaches and innovations that can be taken forward by other communities, service providers and stakeholders to improve the nutritional value of food consumed by every sector in society. These methodologies will be developed with people and families living on lower than average incomes so that the ideas and approaches that emerge are not going to be exclusive to those that are better off in our society. Achieving this goal this will not be easy but it’s a challenge that we are delighted to address in partnership with safefood and colleagues across the island of Ireland”.

In total, 17 projects on the island of Ireland have received funding since the first three-year Demonstration Programme of Community Food Initiatives from 2010-12 and successive programme from 2013-15. Key learnings and experiences from this previous programmes will be shared among the new projects and they will be encouraged and supported to enhance the long-term sustainability of their project from the outset.

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