Belfast Telegraph

Healthy eating funding boost

By Lauren Mulvenny

Healthy eating programme in east Belfast is to receive a funding boost from safefood.

The East Belfast Mission’s Healthy Eating Programme will receive up to £70,000 over the next three years, to help promote greater access and availability of healthy food to those on lower incomes.

Anne Walsh, director of business development, East Belfast Mission, said the group was “delighted” to have received the funding.

The East Belfast Mission collectively combines a church, community and youth work, as well as a homeless shelter.

The local group will use the funding to provide healthy, nutritious food, along with health and diet information for the hostel’s homeless residents and ex-residents.

Anne added: “We work in an area of social and economic deprivation with high levels of unemployment, ill-health and paramilitary influences.

“This funding will help us provide a programme which will have a huge positive impact on the health of those who are most socially excluded.”

The East Belfast Mission, based on the Newtownards Road, is one of seven projects across Ireland to receive funding from safefood, as part of its first Demonstration Programme of Community Food Initiatives.

Martin Higgins, chief executive of safefood, said: “This project is well deserving of funding.

“It is an innovative project that will bring together marginalised groups of society and help develop an understanding and appreciation of healthy food and eating.”

In April 2010 the mission is due to undergo a £20 million revamp creating social and private housing, retail and office space, a 26-bed youth hostel and a community centre, along with the church and homeless hostel.

Councillor John Kyle said: "This is a great scheme with lots of potential benefits.

"Healthy food is essential for good health and this scheme will give the more disadvantaged individuals in our community at least two nutritious meals a week."

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