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New active lifestyle tastes good

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Published by Michelle Hallmark for Walsall Housing Group in Housing and also in Health

Nicola Wright, a customer who has benefitted from the whg Food for Thought programme Nicola Wright, a customer who has benefitted from the whg Food for Thought programme

Walsall residents are being given advice on how to cook on a budget, thanks to a new community course.

 

The ‘Food for Thought’ programme, funded by affordable housing provider whg and run jointly with Walsall PCT, aims to educate tenants in how a healthy diet can lead to better living. It also gives guidance on eating on a tight budget.

 

Demand for the course is high, reflecting Save the Children’s findings that one in eight of the poorest children in the UK go without at least one hot meal a day and the growing popularity of food banks.

 

Three courses spanning 13 weeks have been undertaken by 38 residents so far with further courses already filled for February.

 

The sessions are delivered by NHS specialist diet and nutrition health trainer, Sandy Patel, and whg’s award-winning health champions. The health champions are recruited from whg’s local communities because they know the issues that residents face and are trusted by them to help ‘make a difference’. One of their strengths is engaging with communities and supporting them to make positive lifestyle changes.

 

Bentley resident and whg customer Nicola Wright is one of those to have benefitted.

 

She said: “When I first started the course I doubted what it could teach me at my age but I was certainly proven wrong.

 

“My whole lifestyle has changed. I managed to get myself out of my old routine. I’m more active now and combing this with eating healthily, I’ve lost two stone!

 

“As a single mother, I didn’t know how much time I’d be able to devote to it all but the session only takes up two hours per week and the rest is done on your own behalf. 

 

“I can’t believe the difference the programme has made. It also has a positive knock-on effect as I’m always sharing what I learn with family and friends.”

 

Lesley Dews, health housing partnerships manager, said: “The Food for Thought programme aims to help people make healthier choices, and make their money go further.

 

“We are dedicated to the success of our neighbourhoods, and giving people the skills to cook and buy healthily is one way we can achieve that. It is unusual for a landlord to take such an active role in this area, but we want to tackle the problems we know our customers are facing daily.

 

“We have a strong and well supported Regeneration team which works innovatively to improve the health and well being of residents as well as develop their skills and confidence through our capacity building programmes.

 

“We don’t take a ‘you must eat this, and don’t eat that’ approach, but enable people to learn from others in their community.”

 

For more information on the Food for Thought programme, call Lesley Dews on 07734 732 041 or email Lesley.dews@whgrp.co.uk or Tracey O’Loughlin on 07809 665 548, email Tracey.O’Loughlin@whgrp.co.uk.

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