Jubilee Hall Trust’s MEND programme for 7-13 year olds in Southwark is running at full capacity with 13 families enrolled! MEND is a successful and clinically-proven weight-intervention scheme and Jubilee Hall Trust has been delivering MEND programmes in Camden and Southwark since 2007, enabling hundreds of families to adopt healthier lifestyles.
Mend is so successful that it has been taken up by Australia, Canada and the US, but it nearly folded in Britain in December. At its high point, said Paul Sacher, the chief research and development officer, Mend had courses running in 350 locations. But the number of tenders put out by primary care trusts for child obesity programmes dropped from 12 in 2011 to just three in 2012. More than half the obesity specialists advising the trusts were either made redundant or quit after the government announced public health funding would be transferred to local authorities this April.
“There was no planning for protecting services like Mend during the transition,” said Sacher. The National Institute for Healthcare and Clinical Excellence (Nice) recommends the type of programmes Mend offers for overweight children. “Only about 1% of overweight and obese children have been offered them,” he says.
Fortunately, NHS Southwark has commissioned Jubilee Hall Trust to deliver a further two MEND programmes in the Borough after Easter. The programmes are part-funded by the NHS and part-funded by the charity.