Food charity Fareshare has opened a new distribution depot in Belfast following a partnership with the Council for the Homeless Northern Ireland, marking its first expansion outside mainland UK.

The new FareShare Island of Ireland depot will receive surplus food from retailers and manufacturers across Ireland and distribute it to local charities that feed hungry and vulnerable people. It is expected to supply food to 40 charities by the end of its first year and contribute towards more than 476,000 meals.

"This is a groundbreaking development for FareShare," said the ­charity's chief ­executive Lindsay Boswell. "We're calling on local food ­companies to get in touch and help us fight food ­poverty in Ireland by ­supplying us with food that would otherwise be wasted as surplus."