Free six-week programme for Suffolk families seeking eating disorder support

A Suffolk organisation has responded to the growing call for family support among those contending with eating disorders.

Wednesday’s Child, a not-for-profit established last summer, is to deliver a six-month free programme aimed at parents, grandparents and spouses.

The announcement follows a recent report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists which highlights that people with eating disorders can wait up to 41 months for treatment, leaving families desperate for interim help and support.

Involving expert speakers, advice sharing, friendship building and hands-on workshop activities, the Demeter Programme is being run in conjunction with Suffolk Family Carers and will take place for two hours every month, from 5th March.

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The monthly meet-ups are being staged at Suffolk Family Carers’ Claydon centre between 10am and 12 noon, and are designed to ‘upskill’ family members to better contend with the issues related to eating disorders in the home environment.

Parents, grandparents, spouses or significant relatives with caring roles, are all eligible.

Debbie Watson of Wednesday's Child
Debbie Watson of Wednesday’s Child (Photo: Warren Page)

Debbie Watson, the founder of Wednesday’s Child, said: “Our troublesome nationwide situation around eating disorder care and treatment is leaving so many families feeling helpless and isolated.

“The rates of eating disorders are increasing, and yet we have dangerously low inpatient capacity – particularly here in East Anglia – and ongoing issues of shortfalls in healthcare resource for this specialist area.

“We’re providing this six-month programme as a means of delivering much-needed support, information, practical recovery-focused guidance led by experts, and all-important befriending opportunities.”

Participants in the programme may be already receiving support for a child or partner, might have a child in a residential facility, are seeking to help a loved one’s recovery at home without other healthcare intervention, or wish to further a befriending network of families who are experiencing similar behaviours and conflicts.

Dates of the programme’s meet-ups will be Thursday 5th March, Friday 3rd April, Thursday 7th May, Thursday 4th June, Thursday 2nd July and Thursday 6th August.

Ms Watson added: “Each of our six sessions will focus on enabling family members and helping them to share their experiences and concerns.

“It’s a very new approach in an area which really requires more empathy and support, so I’m optimistic that this will be just our first intake programme, and that we’ll be able to roll-out more in the future to help a greater number of Suffolk parents and spouses.”

If you’d like to know more about the programme, please email the Wednesday’s Child team on hello@wednesdayschild.co.uk, referring to the Demeter Programme, and confirming your name, location, and a small insight into your experience with caring for someone with an eating disorder.

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