A new community food hub employing people Cornerstone supports, has been opened by
Coatbridge based boxing champion Ricky Burns.
The food Hub is a partnership between NHS Lanarkshire, the Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership, Cornerstone and North Lanarkshire Council's Community Learning & Development and Locality Support Service (Disability).
The Hub, based in the Chapelside Centre in Airdrie, includes:
· A community café which will prepare and sell healthy affordable food.
· A food co-operative which will provide fresh fruit and vegetables.
. A community kitchen which will employ a nutritionist who will give cooking demonstrations on how to prepare healthy meals.
The community kitchen also features a ‘mobile kitchen' which will travel around the area giving individuals cooking classes.
Opening the new facility, Ricky Burns, the current WBO Super Featherweight champion, said: "As a professional athlete I know the importance of healthy eating.
"I'm lucky in that I have the best nutritionists giving me tips and guidance to help me eat healthily and sensibly.
"But, very few of us have access to this level expertise which is why the community kitchen is a great idea which I think will benefit all those who use it."
He added: "A good diet is not only important to sports people, it's something which everyone should adopt.
"It doesn't only make you feel and look better, but cooking fresh food, more often than not, tastes better."
Its aim is to tackle social and health inequalities in Lanarkshire as it is estimated:
· Only 15 per cent of County adults eat five or more portions of fruit and veg each day and 11 per cent eat no fruit or veg at all on a daily basis.
· Coronary heart disease and strokes account for around 20 per cent of deaths in people under 65 and almost 30 per cent in the over 65s.
· Cancer accounts for 30 per cent of deaths in the under 65s and around 26 per cent in the over 65s.
• Over 66 per cent of adults are overweight compared to 62 per cent across Scotland.
NHS Lanarkshire health improvement nurse Carol Chamberlain, said: "This project not only provides affordable healthy food but provides an environment where people can learn about food and healthy eating, gain cooking skills and get experience and confidence in cooking and food preparation.
"This will help them to improve their diet and live a healthier life."
The food available in the community café will be prepared by people being supported towards employment by Cornerstone, a charity and a leading provider of services for people with disabilities and other support needs.
Alan McGinness from Cornerstone said: "This underlines another important aspect of the initiative namely giving people the skills and confidence to help them get back into employment.
"It demonstrates the holistic approach we've taken to addressing health inequalities in these communities."
Ian Shankland manger of the Lanarkshire Community Food and Health Partnership, said: "This community food hub will prove a great asset to the local area on so many levels.
"It will not only provide knowledge in relation to healthy food consumption and preparation, but will also for those working in the community café, provide skills to enhance their personal development."