Changing the Menu. For Good.

A new tourism initiative aimed at tackling food poverty in Belfast was launched today by Visit Belfast, the city’s official destination management and marketing organisation.

The sustainable tourism-focused “Changing the Menu. For Good” project will enlist venues, caterers and event organisers to directly raise funds for local food banks, including The People’s Kitchen. A variety of ways to donate are in place to allow event organisers to choose a method that
suits their event, with four headline options; donating the financial equivalent of a fourth course, donating a proportion of catering costs incurred during an event, rounding up delegate or catering fees or donating directly.

The scheme, which will run as a pilot into next year, is designed to drive more responsible and sustainable events, to promote social impact and legacy within our local communities, in addition to the economic benefit tourism already generates.
Like elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, demand for food banks is growing in Belfast, in the last 5 years, the need for food banks has increased by 128%* and organisations including the Trussell Trust, which manages 14 food banks across the city, and the independently-run The People’s Kitchen which tackle food poverty and homelessness, need more support than
ever before.

The ‘Changing the Menu. For Good’ initiative is already supported by a group of founding partners in the event industry; Hastings Hotels, Titanic Belfast, Hospitality Belfast/Yellow Door, Food NI, Conference Partners International, Crowne Plaza Belfast, Event-ful and Queen’s University Belfast.

The six-month pilot initiative was launched yesterday (31st August) with an event at 2 Royal Avenue Belfast, in partnership with The People’s Kitchen. 

Visit Belfast is targeting a significant number of business events, gala dinners and conferences booked in the city, and event organisers already on board include, PHUSE EU Connect (The Global Healthcare Data Science Community), Business Travel Association and The Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance. It is hoped that as the scheme grows, and more conference and event organisers get involved, local food banks and the vital work of The People’s Kitchen will get the support they require to help those in immediate need.