Northern Ireland news

Permanent foodbank set up in Co Tyrone

Dan Kerr pictured at Coalisland Community Foodbank at St Patrick's Hall
Connla Young

A FOODBANK set up in response to the coronavirus pandemic has been given a permanent home.

During the first lockdown, Coalisland and Surrounding Areas Community Response provided food boxes to hundreds of people in east Tyrone.

Now the re-named Coalisland Community Foodbank has found a permanent home in the town's iconic St Patrick's Hall.

It is also in the process of registering as a charity.

The decision to make the confidential service permanent was made after it emerged there was big demand in the area.

Initially volunteers delivered almost 100 boxes of food donated by local firms each week to families across the wider Coalisland area.

Trustees include Dan Kerr, who is also a local independent councillor.

"The foodbank was initially meant to be a temporary initiative but after careful consideration we decided to make it a permanent presence in Coalisland," Mr Kerr said.

"There was a lot of cases of people in desperate need of the intervention of the foodbank."

Mr Kerr said that "statistically Coalisland has been a deprived" area and that people of all ages, backgrounds and professions have availed of the service in recent months.

He said it was "highly significant" that it will now have a permanent presence.

"The foodbank is there to provide a service for the most vulnerable and to try and help people get off the poverty line," he said.

"The foodbank is for the community and led by the community and I would urge anybody who needs support to get in contact and we will do whatever we can to assist them in whatever way possible."

:: The foodbank can be contacted at ccfoodbank2020@gmail.com or on 07871 800551.

Hundreds of people have been helped in recent months by Coalisland Community Foodbank

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