Food poverty pilot goes down well

A pilot scheme aimed at tackling food poverty in Ballymena South has had a positive impact on vulnerable households, councillors have been delighted to hear.

Bringing an update to Council’s Community Planning and Wellbeing Committee, Deputy Chief Environmental Health Officer Nicola McCall said the unique health and wellbeing project had been designed by the Environmental Health Department and rolled out in partnership with SureStart with funding from the Public Health Agency.

She said the first five-week ‘Cooking Healthy on a Budget’ Course was delivered to a group of teenage girls at Ballykeel in July.

The aim, she said, was to work with young families who are experiencing food poverty to equip them with the knowledge and skills to help them buy healthier foods at a reasonable cost, budget better to afford healthier foods, increase their understanding of nutrition and improve their basic cooking skills to enable them to prepare their own wholesome meals.

Mrs McCall stated: “The project was evaluated using a pre and post course questionnaire and it was evident from the findings that the course had made a difference to the way participants source and cook their food.”

The committee went on to agree a recommendation that they noted the proactive work of their Envirnonmental Health staff in recognising the needs of the local community and leading an evidence based, innovative pilot project to positively impact on the health and welbeing of residents.




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