More than 12,000 engaged with Community Food Initiative Programme in its first year

19 January 2015. More than 12,000 people engaged with safefood-funded Community Food Initiatives (CFI) on the island in their first year* with activities including growing food, cooking and healthy eating. Located in communities experiencing social disadvantage, the ten community development projects focus on food and health and are managed at a local level by Healthy Food for All, an all-island charity seeking to promote healthy food for low-income groups. Other project activities include support in important food skills such as food planning, budgeting and shopping.

Welcoming the results from the evaluation of Year 1 of the programme, Ray Dolan, Chief Executive, safefood said:

These results are very positive and show the reach of these projects and the practical support they offer to people in their own social and family lives which helps promote greater access to affordable and healthy food.”

The impact of food poverty is really all about health, be it higher rates of diet-related chronic diseases in later life, difficulties in concentration and poor energy levels in children or wellbeing issues in everyday life for adults; it isn’t just about a lack of food for people. Developing a familiarity with buying and cooking fresh, healthy foods is a lifelong skill and will continue to be a priority for Years 2 and 3 of the Programme.”

Ms Mary Van Lieshout Chair of Healthy Food for All, continues “Food poverty is central to the experience of poverty. In Healthy Food for All, we recognise Community Food Initiatives as a viable means to help tackle food poverty at local level. The programme approach, which encourages sharing of learning amongst programme projects and a wider audience, is vital to the development of the CFIs and their long-term sustainability. Community Food Initiatives help tackle issues of health inequality, social inclusion and educational disadvantage. In working closely with programme CFIs, we see and hear about the difference they make to the healthy eating behaviours and overall wellbeing of participants and their communities.”  

The recipients of the Community Food Initiative (CFI) funding are as follows, with each receiving funding annually over a period of three years to set up, manage and sustain their project, with safefood investing up to €45,000 per project:

  • Fettercairn Community & Youth Centre - Growing Community Roots (Dublin)
  • Dunmanway Family Resource Centre: Grow it; Cook it; Eat it – Growing Together (Cork)
  • Windsor Women’s Centre - Food for Thought (Belfast)
  • Blanchardstown Area Partnership - Blanchardstown Good Food Co-Operative (Dublin)
  • Cloughmills Community Action Team - Incredible Edible Cloughmills (Antrim)
  • Mayo North East LEADER - Ballina Eat Wise Project (Mayo)
  • Doras Bui Parents Alone Resource Centre - Grow it; Cook it; Eat it (Dublin)
  • Ballybeg Community Development Project - Family Growing Project (Waterford)
  • Fatima Groups United - Fatima Food Project (Dublin)
  • Owenkillew Development Company, Omagh - Gortin Community Seasonal Eating (Tyrone)

- Ends -

*April 2013- March 2014

For further information or to request an interview with safefood or Healthy Food for All, please contact

Dermot Moriarty/Julie Carroll


Tel: 01 448 0600

Mob: 086 381 1034 (Dermot)/ 086 601 6005 (Julie)

Editors Notes:

Republic of Ireland

In ROI, almost 12% of people¹ are now living in food poverty, a rise of 4.8% between 2009 and 2012. Those most at risk of living in food poverty identified by the research include the unemployed; people on low income; those living with an illness or disability or who rate their health as being poor; those with low education attainment; families with more than three children aged under 18 and; lone parents.

Northern Ireland

In NI, 1/3 of households are deprived². Within those households, over 115,000 adults and children (6.4% of the population) are not properly fed by today’s standards.

  • 6% of households cannot afford a meal with meat, fish or vegetarian equivalent every other day
  • 7% of households are unable to afford fresh fruit and vegetables every day
  • 2% of households (over 14,000) cannot afford two meals a day

Food Poverty

Food Poverty has been defined as the inability to have an adequate and nutritious diet due to issues of affordability or accessibility (Dowler, 1998). This definition was expanded to include the social and cultural participatory aspect of food, i.e. lacking the means to participate in activities considered a cultural norm such as eating out with friends (Friel and Conlon, 2004)

Community Food Initiative Programme

The CFI programme builds on the success of the initial three-year Demonstration Programme of Community Food Initiatives (2010-2012) where seven CFI projects received funding. Key learnings and experiences from this previous programme 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.


¹ Department of Social Protection (2014), Social Inclusion Monitor 2012, Dublin: Department of Social Protection. The Survey on Income and Living (SILC) is an annual household survey by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) which asks a broad range of questions related to income and living conditions. The most recent data available is from the 2012 survey.

The three food deprivation items from SILC relate to the affordability of food and are as follow:

  1. The inability to afford  a meal with meat or vegetarian equivalent every second day
  2. The inability to afford a roast or vegetarian equivalent once a week
  3. Missed a meal in the last two weeks due to a lack of money

² ‘Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK’ published by School of Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, Queen’s University Belfast.