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(From August 2013) Slimmers Niamh O’Neill-Munro and Hayley Russell have lots of reasons to celebrate after losing over 3 stone between them.

As well as looking great and feeling fitter, Niamh 18 and Hayley 17 have been named Young Slimmers of the Year 2013 at the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group in Hoo. Now their win could see them reach the national finals of the competition, where they will be in with the chance of winning £2,000.

The competition celebrates Slimming World’s bright young things, recognising 16-21 year olds who’ve transformed their lives by adopting healthier eating habits and getting active. Obesity is a huge problem for the younger generation and research shows that overweight teenagers are likely to continue to struggle with their weight as adults and develop weight-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol*. So Niamh and Hayley’s weight loss and healthy lifestyle isn’t just great for their health now but for their future wellbeing too.

Life was very different for Niamh and Hayley just a few months ago. They were unhappy with their size, their self-confidence had taken a knock and sometimes they felt like the odd one out with their friends. But Niamh and Hayley joined their local Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall in Hoo, which is run by Ash O’Neill, and began their transformation.

Hayley says: “I started going to group with my Mum 8 weeks ago and I was really nervous the first time I went, I felt a bit embarrassed and I thought everyone would judge me for being overweight at such a young age. But I couldn’t have been more wrong, everyone was really friendly and kind. I settled in quickly and I’ve made lots of friends – of all ages. I love going to group and seeing everyone each week now and I’m nearly a stone lighter too!”

Niamh and Hayley began following Slimming World’s Food Optimising healthy eating plan, which encourages slimmers to fill up on healthy foods and make small changes to the way they shop, cook and eat that make a big difference to their waistline, like swapping white bread for wholemeal or fast food burgers for homemade. They say: “The eating plan was completely different from what we’d expected. We thought losing weight meant not eating very much or cutting out your favourite foods. Talking to other members in group and sharing ideas, we’ve learned a lot about food and can cook lots of recipes ourselves now. Being hungry isn’t a worry and we can still enjoy favourite meals like burger and chips or Sunday roast, just cooked more healthily.”

Niamh who starts university in September has blossomed since dropping from 12 stone 5lb to 10 stone and she no longer feels like ‘the odd one out’. She says: “I love being able to wear the same clothes as my friends having dropped from a size 16 to a size 10 and enjoy going out with them more now I’ve lost weight. I’ve got so much more energy, I walk everywhere and am looking forward to doing lots of swimming on holidays this summer. I used to feel self-conscious about doing anything physical like that in public but I don’t anymore – I’m too busy having fun!”

Ash O’Neill who runs the group, says: “Everyone in the Hoo St Werburgh group is so proud of Niamh and Hayley. They’re a huge inspiration. They’ve learned healthy habits that will stay with them for life so worrying about their weight is definitely a thing of the past. Obesity in young people is such a huge problem and it affects how they feel about themselves as well as their physical health. Now Niamh and Hayley have the skills to make healthier choices and are much more confident too. I hope they’ll inspire other young people in the area by showing them that there’s no better time to take control of their weight than right now.”

Everyone from the age of 11 upwards is welcome at the Hoo St Werburgh Slimming World group at the Jubilee Hall, Pottery Rd every Thursday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm and young people aged 11-15 can attend for free when they’re accompanied by a parent or guardian and have the approval of their GP. It’s a great way for the whole family to feel healthier. For more information visit www.slimmingworld.com or call Ash O’Neill on 01634 250170 07733 264751.

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Volunteers are set to play an important role in delivering community support in Medway.

As part of a new scheme, money is to be invested in community organisations and trained volunteers are to provide enhanced support to older people and adults with disabilities.
Medway is one of seven councils in England involved in the programme set up by community interest company, Developing Empowering Resources in Communities, also known as DERiC.

Social investment bank, Big Society Capital, has loaned DERiC £1million to invest in community organisations, set up to support people who receive personal care budgets.
Personal care budgets are given to eligible people by local authorities and the NHS to enable them to have choice and control over the support they receive.

This can include anything from personal care, support with daily living, or needs arising from illness, disability, old age or poverty.

There are now four DERiC schemes in Leeds, one in Sandwell, Birmingham, one in Belfast, and one in Medway.

Together these programmes cover 3,000 people who are eligible to receive support.
The schemes draw in community supporters – local, trained volunteers who will provide appropriate support to people receiving personal budgets, enhancing their care and support arrangements.

The pilots in Leeds and Belfast showed a 25 per cent increase in personal contact for older people and vulnerable adults which is an important element of how we as a society address social isolation and loneliness.

Many councils applied to be part of the scheme and Medway Council will be running the programme in conjunction with Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CGG).

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “We are delighted to have been selected to be part of DERiC. The organisers particularly liked that we have the CCG as close partners and also recognised the council’s strong links with volunteers.

“The scheme is set to increase the level of care offered to the people of Medway, and for it to be available to them at less cost.”

Dr Peter Green, Chief Clinical Officer for the CCG said: “We are delighted that Medway has been chosen as one of the first areas in the country to make much greater use of volunteers to enhance the care and support for those people who have a personal care budget, and we are looking forward to working with Medway Council to drive this forward.”

The initiative aims to provide support for at least 60 per cent of those eligible for support over the next three years.

In addition to those people, a further 1,500 who are not eligible for statutory support, but who are identified as needing support, will be helped by the scheme.

Disabled residents in Medway are being encouraged to join a new forum and have their say in council decisions affecting the disabled community.

Carers and people with disabilities have the opportunity to join the Medway Disabled Residents’ Forum on Thursday, 6 March at the Pentagon Centre in Chatham from 10.30am.

The group is set to encourage the disabled population to speak out on issues that affect quality of life, access and welfare of disabled residents.

The concept of the forum was agreed unanimously at Full Council at the end of 2012, and has received cross-party support with Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Service Cllr David Brake, the Leader of the council’s Labour Group, Cllr Vince Maple and Cllr Geoff Juby, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group all backing the idea.

Chairman of the Medway Residents’ Forum Ryan Gallagher said: “Disabled people in Medway really need a way of speaking out about issues that have an impact on them. This forum will do just that, but we need lots of people to get on board if we are going to have an impact.

I would encourage anyone affected by disability to join us at the Pentagon Centre on Thursday.”

The event will run from 10.30am to 2.30pm and will be an opportunity to find out more about the forum.

There will also be a chance to find out about some of the services available to disabled people in Medway.

mums support groupMums in Medway have been breastfeeding in confidence for more than three years now, thanks to the Medway Breastfeeding Network.

The friendly, knowledgeable support network for local families provides regular drop-ins and useful local information and tips so mums can enjoy breastfeeding their baby.

The success of this community service is to be celebrated at an event on Thursday 27 February and midwives, health visiting staff, family nurses, children’s centre staff, peer supporters and anyone else who works with breastfeeding women, is welcome to attend.

It will be an occasion to celebrate the achievements of volunteers and hear positive stories from families and staff. It is also an opportunity to meet peer supporters and find out more about the network and the infant feeding strategy. Lunch and a crèche will be provided.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Adult Services Cllr David Brake said: “A community support system for mothers is essential, and the Medway Breastfeeding Network can offer information and friendly support to help mums breastfeed their babies for as long as they choose to.

“The celebration event will be a wonderful occasion and a chance for everyone to see what a difference the service has made since its introduction in 2010.”

The celebration event will run from 9.30am to 12 noon at Kent Life, Village Hall, Lock Lane Maidstone, ME14 3AU.

To register to attend or to find out more, contact Beverley Hunt, Infant Feeding Project Officer, on 07908 817569 or email ifp@medway.gov.uk

For more information on local breastfeeding support and breastfeeding welcome venues please visit www.abettermedway.co.uk/breastfeeding

ann barnesHave you been a victim of crime? Are you able to spare a small amount of time to take part in a focus group or telephone survey?

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, is looking for volunteers to share their experiences as a victim of crime to help shape support for victims in the future.

If you are a resident of Kent, then the Commissioner is asking for victims of burglary, vehicle crime, theft, and criminal damage in the last year to come forward.

It is not anticipated you will be asked to give up more than two hours of your time, and expenses will be paid. The focus groups/surveys will not at this time be suitable for victims of crime such as assault, rape or abuse or any incident involving violence.

Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, said: ‘Funding for victims will be transferred later in the year from the Ministry of Justice to Police and Crime Commissioners and I will not waste a penny of it – I am determined that victims will have the support and help they need. One of my main manifesto promises was to improve services for victims and to put them at the heart of the Criminal Justice System. I remain committed to doing exactly that. I urge victims to come forward as their experiences and views will help identify priority areas for funding. The outcomes of these focus groups will also inform my future victim-based projects, including a ‘Track My Crime’ initiative to help keep victims updated on their investigation, as well as a Victims’ Centre which I will open in the county next year.’

If you could spare a couple of hours to take part in a focus group or a phone interview, then please contact the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner on 01622 677055 or via contactyourpcc@pcc.kent.pnn.police.uk to register your willingness to participate, with a short description of the crime you recently experienced, your age and your gender. Please also provide a contact telephone number.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Friday 21st February 2014.

Medway has 25,000 carers according to the last census and Medway Council and NHS Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) believes many more people are caring for friends or family but not recognising the extent of their role. More

Death is a certainty that we all face and can be a time of distress for not only the person whose life is ending, but the loved ones they are leaving behind. When asked, most people express preferences about their end of life such as wanting to die at home. But few people currently have conversations about this. A short film hopes to change that, and encourage people to let loved ones and health professionals know their wishes. Read More

Medway Council’s ‘ambition to improve standards for its young people is universally acknowledged by its schools, a letter from Ofsted states.

The schools’ regulator made the comments in a letter to the authority following a focused inspection which included visiting a very small number of the area’s schools.

This inspection, which took place in June, and involved Ofsted going to ten of Medway’s 100 schools, was to ask their opinion of how they work with the council on school improvement. Read More

Gr@nd staff encourage young people not to keep their feelings locked up, and talk about mental health. Workers from The Gr@nd Healthy Living Centre Gravesend, took their newly formed group of peer mentors to look around the Old Town Hall on Friday 16 August in preparation for the Young People’s conference they are planning at the historical venue on Thursday 10 October, for World Mental Health Day. Read More

Medway Trading Standards are urging residents to draw up a list of traders they might need in a home emergency situation well before disaster strikes.

Posing as a consumer with a home emergency, the Medway Council team are conducting weekly online checks of more than 400 web links of nine types of home emergency trades from blocked drains to locksmiths.

Their websites are checked to see if response times have been exaggerated and if traders claiming to be local are genuinely based in the Medway area.

But despite searching for local traders officers found that only around 16 per cent were actually based in the Medway area with some being as far away as North Wales.

Several traders are also subject to further investigation for falsely advertising they were members of trade associations that they do not belong to including gas and electrical safety schemes. More

The weather is going to be great again this weekend, pop along and put the sunshine back into someones life by supporting the Wisdom Hospice

wisdomfayre

Preventing the neglect and abuse of vulnerable adults will be top of the agenda in Medway next week as Safeguarding Adults Awareness Week takes place from 10 – 15 June.
This year’s event is aimed at making people aware of the huge impact adult abuse can have on individuals and the support that is available to help them take action. Vulnerable adults who are in need of care and protection can include people with learning disabilities, older people, people with mental health problems and those with a physical disability. More

A trial project to increase food waste recycling in Medway starts this month (December). Medway Council’s Waste Services has teamed up with chemical company BASF in a small trial to increase food waste recycling. Nearly 5,000 households in Hempstead, Twydall and Rochester will have received a silver kitchen caddy, a trial roll of ecovio® compostable liners, and an explanatory leaflet.

The average family will produce around one tonne of waste a year, of which 20 per cent is food. The trial will encourage residents to use the ecovio® bags to dispose of biodegradable garbage. The bags not only prevent noxious odours and keep out insects, but also mean that it is not necessary to wash and clean the container in which the organic waste is collected.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Frontline Services Cllr Phil Filmer said: “It is always important to establish cross sector partnerships to encourage our residents to continue to recycle their food waste. There are many advantages to composting food waste via the brown bin, instead of black refuse sacks. When composted through the brown bin collections, it has a positive effect to the environment and rodents will not rip black sacks open if they do not contain food waste.

A spokesman for BASF Plastics said: “We were delighted to work with the council and the residents of Medway. We hope this project will prove that ecovio® compostable and biodegradable liners will increase the amount of food waste which can be used to produce good nutritional compost.”

Currently in Medway, recycling and organic collections are collected on a fortnightly basis. Following a successful bid from Central Governments Weekly Collection Support Scheme, the council has been given funding of just over £14million to increase these services to weekly, as well as maintaining a weekly general waste service. These improved services will come into effect summer 2013.

From twins to octuplets, parents of more than one bundle of joy are being invited to a new session at All Saints Sure Start Children’s Centre. More

Men, women and children whose lives have been touched by cancer are being invited to play a key role in Cancer Research UK’s Relay For Life. More

FOR A ‘WOOFING’ GOOD TIME COME ALONG TO THE EllenorLions Hospices SCRUFFS COMPANION DOG SHOW ON SUNDAY 22ND MAY 2011 BETWEEN 11AM – 4PM More

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