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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Council receives £90k grant to establish social supermarket in Mid & East Antrim

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been awarded £90k by the Department for Communities to establish a social supermarket.

The aim of a social supermarket is to offer a “longterm sustainable response by helping to address the cause of poverty rather than simply provide food”, councillors have been told.

Five social supermarkets funded by DfC opened in Northern Ireland in 2018 with food supplied by the Fareshare charity, an organisation which distributes surplus food from supermarkets, suppliers and manufacturers to charities to directly tackle food poverty.

These were located in Lisburn, Coleraine, Strabane, West Belfast and Londonderry.

A report presented at a meeting of the council’s Direct Services Committee, on Tuesday evening, explained:

“A social supermarket will offer food at a cheaper price through a membership scheme with a wraparound service provided to address challenges faced by customers regarding food provision.”

This would address subjects such as debt management, benefits, healthy eating and housing. Advice services will be provided by statutory, voluntary and community partners. Food will be donated by retailers and the Fareshare organisation.

The report noted: “It is intended that this will provide a longterm solution in a dignified manner rather than short-term provision.”

Meanwhile, The Trussell Trust distributed 4,974 food parcels, including 2,165 to children, at five food banks in Mid and East Antrim, between April 1 2021 and March 31 2022.

During the previous 12 months, 5,610 were distributed, including 2,453 for children in the borough.

Last week, Education Minister Michelle McIlveen announced that families of children entitled to a free school meals will receive a school holiday food grant this summer.

The summer holiday food grant will run from July 1 until August31. It will provide financial assistance to families whose children are entitled to a free school meal during term time.

Families will receive £13.50 per week for each entitled child.

The Minister said: “At a time when many families are already financially vulnerable, this payment will help to ensure that more than 100,000 of our children and young people can continue to access healthy, nutritious food this summer.

“This is an anxious time for many low income parents and I hope confirmation of this payment will provide some reassurance to them and alleviate some of the pressure they are experiencing.”


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