Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA today praised local volunteers during a visit to Strabane Community Project, one of the organisations leading on the community response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Strabane Community Project deliver a number of crucial services, including Meals On Wheels and Food Market, and are one of the community partners delivering DfC’s Food Parcel Service.
The Minister began her visit at the Grassroots Café and Food Market, which was established as part of her Department’s Social Supermarket Pilot Programme. This wraparound service provides fresh food, benefits advice, budgeting, debt advice, family support, healthy eating, fuel poverty support, and a range of essential skills and employability training.
Whilst its operation has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Food Market decanting to St Patrick's Hall, it remains a valuable asset to the local community and will offer a much needed avenue of support once the recovery phase commences.
The Minister then visited the hall, from where Strabane Community Project are leading the volunteer response to the pandemic, to meet those helping deliver a range of vital services to the community. Some of the Project’s existing services have been adapted and/or scaled-up to help address the current crisis; including their B-Friend Hub, Meals On Wheels service and Food Market. Volunteers from all walks of life have come together to help deliver these at this time of need.
During her visits, the Minister praised all those involved and thanked them for their hard work during this difficult time, “Strabane Community Project is an excellent example of a grassroots community organisation taking the lead in delivering vital services in their communities to those most in need. The volunteer effort they have managed to mobilise is testament both to their organisation and the local community themselves, who have come together to help the most vulnerable at this difficult time.”
The Minister concluded, “We are facing unprecedented challenges and I want to thank all those who are working so hard to deliver vital services to those most affected by this terrible pandemic. The Social Supermarket Programme will play an important part in the future recovery process and I know that our communities will pull together to continue to help and support those most affected.”
Notes to editors:
- Strabane Community Project are one of five organisations delivering a Social Supermarket pilot which was originally part of the Department’s actions to implement the Welfare Reform Mitigations Report. The others are Footprints Women’s Centre in West Belfast, Lisburn City Church, Vineyard Compassion in Coleraine and Apex Housing in Derry
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