All-island Food Poverty Network: Food for Thought

Date: Tuesday 18 September, 2018

Time: 10:00am - 1:30pm

Venue: NICVA Centre, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast (Directions)

Follow: #FoodPovertyIOI

Aim of the workshop

The event shared new insights, latest research and explored solutions in tackling inequality and food poverty. Guest speakers highlighted the work delivered on the island of Ireland with social supermarkets and how collaboration between both jurisdictions is paramount.

The event looked at the challenges homeless families in emergency accommodation face in relation food access and nutritional health. Presentations explored the importance of engaging homeless individuals in discussions about their food experiences and how to optimise their wellbeing.

Who should attend?

The event was of interest to those working in government departments and agencies, academia and those in strategic positions in the voluntary and community sector who have a common interest in reducing food poverty on the island of Ireland.





9.45 – 10.20



10.20 – 10.25

Welcome address

Ms Sharon Gilmore

Food Standards Agency in NI

10.25 – 10.40

Food insecurity in Northern Ireland (PPT, 5MB) 

Ms Naomi Davidson

Food Standards Agency in NI

10.40 – 11.00

Social supermarket pilot in Northern Ireland (PPT, 300KB)

Mr James Elliott / Ms Sharon Polson

Department of Communities

11.00 – 11.20

Moving from food banks to social supermarkets (PDF, 30MB)

Mr Michael McDonagh


11.20 – 11.40

Coffee break


11.40 – 12.10

Engaging homeless individuals in discussion about their food experiences to optimise wellbeing

Dr Clare Pettinger

​University of Plymouth

12.10 – 12.30

Food access and nutrition health among families in emergency homeless

Dr Sarah Sheridan

Focus Ireland

12.30 – 12.55

Roundtable discussion

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan


12.55 – 13.00

Closing remarks

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan


Dr Sarah SheridanSarah Sheridan profile pic

Dr Sarah Sheridan is Research Officer for Focus Ireland homeless charity which operates over 70 services across the Republic of Ireland supporting those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Her PhD was a longitudinal qualitative study of women’s homelessness which integrated in-depth interviews with ethnographic observation across homeless services. Prior to this she worked as researcher on a biographical study of women’s homelessness with Dr Paula Mayock, Trinity College Dublin.

She is a member of the Women’s Homelessness in Europe Network and the European Housing First Hub Research Cluster. Her research interests include homelessness, poverty, gender, and social policy.

Dr Clare PettingerClare Pettinger profile pic

Dr Clare Pettinger RD RNutr (Public Health) is a lecturer in Public Health Dietetics in the School of Health Professionals, University of Plymouth. Her current research includes the use of creative participatory methods to address food poverty/justice and issues of social sustainability. The "Food as a Lifestyle Motivator" (FLM) project is an innovative research project which has involved working with local community third sector partners (supporting clients with complex needs, e.g. homeless, women in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions, mental health).

This project is ongoing and has gained interest locally and nationally (Pettinger et al 2017, 2018). It originally received internal University seed funding, but more recently received a British Academy / Leverhulme small grant.

Mr Michael McDonaghMichael McDonagh profile pic

Mr Michael McDonagh is a Senior Manager with Crosscare, one of Irelands largest charities with over 1,000 staff and volunteers. Michael has responsibility for provision of all Food and Community Services and focuses his attentions on both Community Cafes and Food Banking. 

Over the last eight years Michael has been responsible for establishing a network of Community Food Banks and supporting several different regions create similar initiatives across Ireland.

Ms Naomi DavidsonNaomi Davidson

Ms Naomi Davidson is a Senior Scientific Advisor based in the dietary health team within the Food Standards Agency and manages the agencies' nutrition surveillance programmes alongside other nutrition related research projects.

Graduating from Ulster University with a degree in Human Nutrition and a Masters in Health Promotion and Public Health, Naomi has over six years experience working in health promotion across community, voluntary and statutory sectors.

Find our more

For more information about this event:


Call: (NI) 0800 085 1683, (ROI) 1850 40 4567