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Safeguarding Children e-Academy helps to tackle childhood obesity

Safeguarding Children E-Academy : 18 October, 2010  (Application Story)
HENRY, an award-winning national charity that helps parents provide a healthy environment for their young children, is receiving a £2,000 windfall from online training pioneer Virtual College in Ilkley.
The money is being used to support a research project to see how a course designed for parents benefits families with pre-school children.

HENRY – it stands for Health Exercise Nutrition for the Really Young – is led by Professor Mary Rudolf, consultant paediatrician with NHS Leeds and Professor of Child Health at the University of Leeds, and Candida Hunt, a training and parenting specialist who is the HENRY Programme Director.

HENRY, established in 2006 and based in Oxford, was honoured with the Association for the Study of Obesity Best Practice Award in 2008.

Virtual College is already working in partnership with HENRY. Together, the two organisations developed a ground breaking ‘Tackling Child Obesity’ programme, which is delivered via the internet.

Thousands of health professionals have completed the e-course, which is contributing towards efforts to reduce obesity levels in pre-school children and babies.

Professor Rudolf explained: “We train professionals to work more effectively with parents around lifestyle change and have a long-standing relationship with Virtual College”.

“We are now evaluating the impact of our 'Let's Get Healthy with HENRY' course for parents of pre-school children. The funding will help by covering the costs of providing parents with toolkits - books, game, wallchart, stickers and a ball – that are built up over the duration of the programme”.

“Our initial findings show that the course is being very well received by parents and is having a positive impact upon family relationships and lifestyle.”

The research is being undertaken by Dr Thomas Willis, research fellow at Leeds University. Dr Willis commented: “The support of the Virtual College will provide real benefit to our research and make a real impact upon family life.”

The funding has been made available through Virtual College’s national Safeguarding Children e-Academy, a leading provider of online training for the children’s workforce, which annually donates a portion of its revenues to child-related charitable bodies and causes.

Since 2007, the e-Academy has handed over more than £60,000 to a host of UK and overseas charities, the majority nominated by its growing 71-strong membership, predominantly Local Safeguarding Children Boards.

Manager Abby Dacres said: “With HENRY, we are supporting a charity that is a pioneer through its work with parents to improve the health of very young children. We are proud to see that our continuing charitable efforts are making a real difference to children, young people and their families in need.”
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