Thursday 8 December 2016

'We're here to empower them to make the right choices in life' - FoodCloud enables youth centre to use resources better for local community

Published 24/12/2015 | 08:14

With about 400 participants walking through the doors of the Finglas Youth Resource Centre every week, youth worker Karen Judd is thankful for initiatives to help resources go further.

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"The provision of food in our centre has become an integral part of our service," said Karen, who welcomes youths between the ages of 10 to 24 at the centre.

"We've always done it since the day we opened the door in 2014.  We have the Christmas dinner that you see being arranged today every year.

But with the food initiative from not-for-profit social enterprise FoodCloud, the staff at the centre have been able to use the available resources to other programs "like buying arts and crafts materials or buying sports equipment".

Karen is passionate about the goal of the centre which offers a range of voluntary services to the greater Finglas area.

"Our mission is to empower those people to become active citizens in their own community and to help them reach their potential," she told independent.ie.

"Basically we're here to empower them to make the right choices in life - and to be there for them when they don't".

Food Cloud matches businesses that have too much food with charities that need food through an app.

Marketing and communications manager with the relatively new company Niamh Kirwan explains how the simple but effective app works.

"In the evening, a store will upload what food they have available that goes as a text message to a charity in the community and they can go and pick up that food," Niamh told independent.ie.

FoodCloud works with the Tesco store in Finglas, for example, which donates food to local charities of a wide range across the community.

"We work with everyone from residential centres, people who are homeless, addiction centres, childcare centres, centres for older people - a wide range of people," Niamh said.

Kevin Dolan of the Finglas Youth Resource Centre said that the voluntary group on Mellowes Road is "very fortunate" to have such a "dedicated staff" on board.

"The service is open 6 nights a week until 1030pm to provide that service to the people in the community.

"We go out actively into the community and pursue those who are most at risk out there with the talents and the tools that we've got here."

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