The Food Parcel Scheme, which seen over 17,000 food parcels distributed across the district to those who were most vulnerable, ended on Friday, July 31 after more than three months. The scheme was developed by the Department for Communities and administered in this area by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, to provide emergency support in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, to residents who had been notified to shield by their GPs, who could not access food or could not access local support networks due to the impacts of coronavirus and the associated mitigation measures during the lockdown period.

Speaking about the scheme, the Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Chris Smyth said: “Over the duration of the operation of the scheme, more than 17,000 food parcels were distributed across the district providing a lifeline to those who were most vulnerable at this time.

“The delivery of the scheme, however, wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of our partners. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council supports the ethos of working in partnership with other key stakeholders to deliver initiatives which greatly improve the quality of life of the people of the district. The success of the Food Parcel Scheme exemplifies the benefits of such a collaborative working approach. I am grateful to our partner organisations, Fermanagh Community Transport, Easilink, Advice NI, DAERA, the Western Health and Social Care Trust, the local Community and Voluntary organisations and of course our own Council staff for all their hard work in ensuring that those who were most in need received this valuable assistance at such a difficult and challenging time.”

Speaking about the food parcel scheme, a representative from Fermanagh Community Transport (FCT) said: “Fermanagh Community Transport is proud to have been able to play a key role in the emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic within Fermanagh developed by the Department for Communities and co-ordinated locally by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. During the past number of months, we have delivered thousands of emergency food parcels to hundreds of individuals and families right across Fermanagh. We have come to know many of these people by name as we have been delivering the boxes on a weekly basis.”

“The feedback our drivers have received on the doorsteps and the many cards and letters we have received speak to the enormous value placed on the receipt of the boxes and the very personal and caring way which this has been done by all involved.

“The relationships developed between the drivers and the people we have been serving has been especially rewarding. Many of the individuals and families have remarked on how they have looked forward to seeing and having a yarn with the drivers.

“Often, the driver was one of only a limited number of contacts or often the only contact throughout the full lockdown period many people had. We sincerely hope we have brought some comfort, assurance and compassion in collaboration with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Easilink to those we have served during this time,” the FCT representative said.