Scheme to help youngsters get fit and healthy starts again

An initiative that helps youngsters lead a healthier and fitter lifestyle is launching again this month (January).

MEND – Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do It! – is aimed at youngsters aged between seven and 13 who may be above their ideal weight and provides them with an opportunity to try fun, physical activities and learn about the healthiest foods to eat.

There are still places available for around five youngsters on the free scheme which is being hosted at Patchway Community College every Tuesday and Thursday, between 5.45pm – 7.45pm, for nine weeks from 26 January until 1 April. Parents or carers need to attend the sessions as well.

When youngsters attend they will they will take part in physical activities, such as dancing, multi-skill games or swimming. They are also educated, along with their families, through friendly talks about healthy eating, including advice on how to read food labels. Participants also receive a graduate newsletter to keep them up to date regarding developments about MEND and provide ongoing advice.

So far four MEND programmes have taken place in South Gloucestershire.

Many of the youngsters who have attended have got fitter, have been able to manage their weight, are more confident and eat healthier foods.

Two more programmes – in addition to the one at Patchway Community College – are planned during 2010.

Another initiative to help youngsters and their families get more active and healthy is also launching shortly. Places are available on the free ‘Active Family Club’ scheme. It is also being hosted at Patchway Community College, every Thursday, between 4.45pm – 5.45pm, for nine weeks from 28 January until 1 April. Parents or carers need to attend these sessions as well.

Councillor Heather Goddard, executive member for communities, said: “MEND is a worthwhile initiative that helps youngsters in the district lead a healthier and fitter lifestyle. When they complete the course the young people and their parents or carers can continue to get ongoing help and support.”

MEND is a national programme and is run in South Gloucestershire by the council, and supported by NHS South Gloucestershire.

Julie Craig from NHS South Gloucestershire public health department, said: “Action to tackle obesity, particularly in children, is a high priority for NHS South Gloucestershire and the Council. We know that by the time children are in their final year of primary school in South Gloucestershire, one in four of them is either overweight or very overweight. We work in partnership through a combination of approaches, like running MEND and also by encouraging families to sign up to Change4Life, the recently launched national campaign which aims to improve children’s diets and levels of activity.”

MEND is funded nationally by a range of organisations, including the Big Lottery Fund and the National Sports Foundation, and locally by the council.

If you are interested in finding out more information on attending the forthcoming MEND programme or Active Family Club in South Gloucestershire, please contact Joanna Steeds on 01454 862296, or email

Change4Life can also help with tips and advice. Go to:

Source: South Gloucestershire Council