On 3rd May 2022, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, local Community representatives and staff from Bolster Community welcomed representatives from the Council, Community Advice, and statutory agencies to the launch of Bolster’s new Star-Bites 57 sustainable kitchen.
Bolster board member Gerard Flynn opened proceedings at the launch by expressing his pleasure and gratitude to the NIHE for funding the initiative and spoke of his pride in launching this new sustainable kitchen service and welcomed everyone to Marcus Street.
“Star-Bites 57”, Gerard Flynn explained “is an initiative supported and funded by the NIHE to assist Housing Executive Tenants and those on the Housing Executive waiting list to build strong homes and connect with their community. A community based practical support service, hosted by Bolster Community Star bites 57 will provide food, refreshments and direct support to individuals and families in need of a helping hand to sustain tenancy.”
Bolster Community funded through the NIHE Sustaining Tenancy fund will provide a dedicated drop-in facility (social kitchen) where beneficiaries registered with the project can access additional advice, resources and signposting whilst availing of complimentary warm food. Over time attendees will identify other sources of help and support that may help sustain tenancy and partner organisations will be welcome to come along and provide support that attendees need to access.
Bolster Community CEO Jacinta Linden with board members Gerry Flynn and Martina Flynn joined by project lead Joanne Caraher
Bolster Team joined by Liam Gunn, Housing Executive’s South Down Area Manager and the Newry NIHE Housing executive staff
Bolster’s Homeless Prevention Navigator Joanne Caraher who will be leading on this new service, expressed the importance of such a support service. “In my role as Homeless Prevention Navigator, I have come to realise the harsh reality of what goes on behind closed doors. As well as people facing financial burdens and struggles, I have met so many people who just need a social outlet, a cup of tea and a listening ear! We all know there are huge emotional and mental health issues around us, but COVID-19, has increased the number of people struggling alone and feeling lonely and disconnected. Joanne has witnessed at first-hand how the impact of difficult life challenges has resulted in poor mental health, isolation, hoarding and un healthy routines, “I feel that our sustainable kitchen Star (Sustaining Tenancy and Residence)-Bites 57, is a great starting point for people to begin reconnecting again”.
Liam Gunn, the Housing Executive’s South Down Area Manager said ‘We have been delighted to have supported Bolster over the past few years in their fantastic work centered around supporting so many residents in our communities. We are delighted to be able to fund Bolster’s new StarBites Café venture which will be of great benefit to our tenants and to applicants on our Housing Waiting List.’
Jacinta Linden CEO Bolster Community welcomed the funding and partnership work with the NIHE local and regional teams and stated “we have worked together with our partners and beneficiaries to create a safe accessible space so that we can try and help create better communities, stronger people and sustainable homes. Star -Bites 57 refers to our address on 5-7 Marcus Street, we are confident that we will create a a warm, welcoming, relaxed and informal space for those people registered with our sustaining tenancy project.
If you would like to know more about the Star-Bites 57 Sustainable Kitchen, please contact Joanne on 02830835764 or email@example.com
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