Restaurant & Food news

Local Mayor thanks Castello Italia for supporting vulnerable during Covid-19 lockdown

Pictured are Jim Burke, owner, Castello Italia; David Hilditch, East Antrim DUP MLA; Marc Collins, DUP Councillor, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council; Artur and Jonida Cufaj, owners of Castello Italia; David Long, general manager, Castello Italia; Cheryl Johnston, DUP Councillor, Mid and East Antrim; and Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, has presented Castello Italia restaurant in Carrickfergus (28 Scotch Quarter) with a certificate of thanks for the role the restaurant played in supporting local vulnerable people during the recent Covid-19 lockdown.

The business recognised the impact that the pandemic was going to have on day to day life and from the first week of lockdown, the restaurant volunteered to prepare meals for vulnerable individuals, who had been nominated by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and local charities.

Over 3,500 meals were prepared and delivered by community volunteers and local MLAs to individuals who were incredibly thankful for the delicious homemade pizza and pasta dishes they received.

“We have been running a restaurant business in Carrickfergus for the last three years and have always felt that the sense of community spirit that exists is one of the town’s greatest assets,” said Artur Cufaj, owner of Castello Italia. “People support each other in times of difficulty and the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly one of the most difficult periods our society has experienced in recent decades.

“DUP MLA David Hilditch approached us at the start of lockdown to see if we could help local vulnerable people by preparing food. Mid and East Antrim Borough Council had a list of individuals in the greater Carrickfergus area that local charities and groups had nominated, who would really benefit from warm, homecooked meals.

“Over the course of lockdown, Castello Italia provided more than 3,500 meals, worth in excess of £12,000, to support our local community. In what was a period of fear and loneliness for many, the routine delivery of a warm nutritious meal provided some level of normality and social contact that was being sorely missed. It was lovely to see just how much this meant to individuals.

“Lockdown restrictions have of course eased now, and I’m delighted to be able to say that Castello Italia is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with social distancing measures in place across the three dining floors to keep everyone safe.”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston, said: “The Carrickfergus community has truly demonstrated that during the worst of times, we see the best of people.

“Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, there have been so many examples of tireless dedication to helping others, and none more so than through this initiative undertaken by Castello Italia.

“By ensuring vulnerable members of our community received a warm and nutritious meal, and the simple pleasure of seeing a friendly face, Castello Italia and the volunteers who helped them have shown the true human spirit of kindness. Well done to all those involved in this very worthy project.”

Castello Italia was born from a passion for Mediterranean cuisine. A family owned and family run business, its goal is to offer classic flavoursome dishes synonymous with Italy in a relaxed cafe and restaurant environment set across three floors and overlooking Belfast Lough.

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