Funding boost for Irvinestown healthy living centre

THE ARC Healthy Living Centre in Irvinestown has been given a funding boost to help it continue helping local families eat well.
For years the busy centre has been running a food bank with an emphasis on fresh food, as well as a ‘grow your own’ scheme where local families can both save money and eat healthily, using the centres polytunnels. The services have proved vital for many locals over recent years, with the challenges of Covid and now the cost of living crisis stretching the budgets of already struggling households.
Now, the centre has been awarded a share of a £620,000 funding pot from Safefood to help it continue to transform the shopping and healthy eating habits of low-income communities. The Arc is one of only 13 community projects across Ireland to be included in the all-island Community Food Initiatives (CFI) programme for the next three years.
Chief executive of the Arc, Jenny Irvine, said the funding would help the centre continue to help those in need gain skills in healthy eating, cooking and meal planning.
“The ARC Healthy Living Centre exists to promote benefit to our local community through the provision of additional services around health improvements and harm reduction,” she said.
“We welcome our involvement with the Community Food Initiative, as it will provide us with a platform for the promotion of good nutrition, knowledge and skills which will assist families and contribute to the reduction in some health inequalities.”
Chief executive of Safefood, Ray Dolan, said the funding for the 13 projects was needed now more than ever.
“We face rising food and living costs and the pressure that puts on low-income families in eating a healthy, balanced diet while meeting other essential household expenses,” he said.
“The projects joining our CFI programme today put healthy eating on the agenda in local communities and can improve family health, tackle inequality, and change people’s lives for the better.
“By focusing on skills and knowledge in relation to food, this can have a transformative effect on families across the island of Ireland.”

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