Hunger in our borough being addressed by dual project

COLERAINE Borough Council is currently working in partnership with two local projects to help address poverty across the borough.

Through support and funding from the Public Health Agency, Council is working with Causeway Food Bank and Focus on Family Coleraine, to tackle food poverty and lack of nutritional knowledge and cooking skills which are vital to health and well being within the community.

The funding has supported Causeway food bank - in conjunction with The Trussell Trust - to develop a project by which 43 vulnerable people and families are provided with basic food and equipment packs to assist in times of crisis. Individuals are identified through referrals from various local organisations locally.

Basic equipment such as saucepans, oven trays, chopping boards and tin openers have complimented the food packs to assist families to prepare simple, nutritious and affordable meals. The food packs include staple store cupboard ingredients such as UHT milk, sugar, tinned fish, tea, coffee and tinned vegetables.

Melanie Gibson, from the Causeway Foodbank, says: “The funding has provided the foodbank with 603.3kg of food items and will go far in assisting the Causeway foodbank to provide emergency food for people in crisis and in addition the equipment packs will enable people to have the right tools to prepare for themselves and their families.

“In these tough economic times many families within Coleraine orough and the Causeway area are now struggling with basic food provision. The Causeway Foodbank exists to help take some of the stress away by being able to provide a family with three days of nutritionally balanced food.”

The other element to the project included the provision of Cook-it equipment for both Focus and Family Coleraine and the Vineyard Compassion who will begin to deliver local Cook-it sessions within the community.

Members and volunteers from the Vineyard will receive Cook-it facilitator training from the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, who will then have the capacity to deliver the programme to local people, thus ensuring a sustainable element to the programme.

The six-week project encourages participants to understand the principles of healthy eating through use of the Eat Well Plate as well as learning how to prepare nutritious meals in a kitchen environment whilst reducing overall fat, salt and sugar levels within the diet.

The Vineyard also plan to use produce grown from their allotment project to support the development of the programme and plan to educate participants on the mental health and financial benefits on growing produce at home.

Debbie Blair, Health & Well Being Officer at Coleraine Borough Council commented, ‘Projects addressing poverty are greatly needed within the community during the economic climate which we are faced with and Council are delighted that the Public Health Agency have been able to support two local projects across the Borough.”