Community Stories  >  Case Studies

RedBranch Cafe

More than one in five Irish children are overweight. Many more suffer from poor diet and lack of physical exercise and will experience poor health in later years. It is estimated that 86% of all deaths in Ireland result from lifestyle-related illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.

The Redbranch Cafe Project is determined to reverse these rather ominous trends. It is a tall order, but this unique initiative has already made good progress.

The first Redbranch Cafe was set up in Ennis Community College, in 2009, with the specific aim of improving the diet and lifestyle of pupils. They employ some smart marketing techniques to achieve that goal: thus, the healthiest option will always be the cheapest in the Redbranch Cafe, a policy that excludes all junk food and insists on using only the best quality ingredients.

Cafe staff are also trained in the technical aspects of nutrition.

The Ennis cafe has proven enormously successful, contributing hugely to improved eating habits across the school, while generating a surplus of €16,000 in its first year.

The healthy option pays dividends all round.

Clann Credo is supporting the expansion of the Redbranch Cafe network: they hope to have nine outlets in operation nationwide by 2012, providing healthy food to some 4,000 students.

The necessity to tackle this often unseen problem is made all the more urgent by the fact that Redbranch, in the course of its work, has come across schoolgoing children who have never eaten either fruit or vegetables, including some who have been hospitalised with scurvy as a result.

The benefits for schools and wider communities in reversing this trend are obvious. And the benefits for the future health of thousands of children are beyond doubt.

Location: Cloonanass, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare

"The benefits for schools and wider communities in reversing this trend are obvious. And the benefits for the future health of thousands of children are beyond doubt."