FOUR projects in Northern Ireland have been awarded a share of £620,000 funding to transform shopping and promote healthy eating habits among low-income communities.
The investment aims to help each project set up their own community food scheme aimed at positively influencing healthy eating .
Participants will be helped to develop their skills and knowledge around food, healthier shopping and cooking skills.
It is part of the Community Food Initiatives (CFI) Programme by safefood, which is funding 13 community projects across the island of Ireland over the next three years.
Among the ground-breaking projects that have received funding is the New Lodge Duncairn Community Health Partnership in Belfast, which plans to expand on a previous programme that helped 157 families and delivered 1,374 family meals.
The Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre also plans to investigate novel ways of sharing good practice and delivering community food and nutrition programmes to families in Derry.
The funding will also support the Co Armagh Community Development, which aims to encourage healthier eating among children by building parenting skills to ensure healthy choices are made and the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Co Fermanagh will focus on helping those most in need to gain skills in healthy eating, cooking and meal planning.
Ray Dolan from 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,” he said.
“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.”
George McGowan from the Old Library Trust Healthy Living Centre said they aim 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,” he said.