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Duhallow Community Food Services is a Community Enterprise which was established in 1996 to address an unmet need of the increasing ageing population living in Duhallow. food centreThe community enterprise, Duhallow Community Food Services provides a subsidised meal service to those that are not in a position to cook for themselves and are isolated because of age, illness, lack of transport or other disadvantages that result from living in a rural area. This part of the business has grown steadily over the last year with over a 1,500 meals delivered per month to the elderly in Duhallow. Meals are delivered directly to the individuals home, while catering is also provided to community centres on a weekly basis in Banteer, Kiskeam, Meelin and Rockchapel where the elderly can enjoy a meal in the company of their friends. The Community Centres offer added benefits to the elderly including access to health care and social contact. The bakery unit at Duhallow Community Food Services provides fresh products to local retail outlets throughout Duhallow as well as to the Kanturk Farmers Market. The range of products available includes Scones, Brown Bread, Apple Tarts, Rhubarb Tarts, Queen Cakes, Cheesecakes, Muffins, Apple Turnovers and a wide selection of Maderia Cakes. The revenue generated goes some of the way in offsetting the costs in the meals unit. bakersThe Food Centres’ outside catering service has proven to be a great community service. It is used regularly for family occasions and private functions including Communion, Funerals, Confirmation, Christenings, and for participants on Training Programmes in IRD Duhallow’s Training Centre at Boherbue. The overall operation of Duhallow Community Food Services is managed by the Board of IRD Duhallow and the Social Economy Working Group which engages the community enterprise in economic activity in order to meet social objectives that enhance social inclusion. It is with their commitment and that of the staff that the project is flourishing. We are very grateful to the Community Services Programme for providing funding for staffing; DCFS provides sheltered Job opportunities to people often excluded from the labour market. vanThe Rural Social Scheme has supported the service with catering staff and drivers to meet the growing demand. Training and development of the staff is of major importance at the centre, to ensure quality standards are maintained, throughout the operation and for the development of the team. The centre also works closely with the National Learning Network providing placements for individuals on this programme. We are grateful to Boherbue Co-op for their continued support and to the Southern Health Board for its subsidy towards the meal service. We are deeply indebted to the volunteers who assist with deliveries of meals and to the Public Health Nurses, Local Clergy, GPs and Community representatives for their ongoing referrals. The enthusiasm and work ethic of the staff are critical to the success of the project. Duhallow Community Food Services not only provides a valuable social service in the community, it also provides employment and a broad range of skills training to the staff which enhances their quality of life.