Wakefield Council cuts funding for child obesity scheme

An obesity scheme which has helped hundreds of kids over the last four years has been scrapped from the end of March. Alison Killey's son Ewan lost three stone thanks to the scheme. He has learning disabilities and Alison says he will have nowhere else to go for help.

An obesity scheme which has helped hundreds of kids over the last four years has been scrapped from the end of March. Alison Killey's son Ewan lost three stone thanks to the scheme. He has learning disabilities and Alison says he will have nowhere else to go for help.

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An obesity programme which has helped hundreds of children live healthier lifestyles will be scrapped because of council budget cuts.

Wakefield Council will cease funding the Connect 3 programme, which helped seriously overweight youngsters have a healthier diet and exercise more, from the end of March.

The council said the service, which was delivered by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, was being used by a falling number of families.

But Alison Killey, whose autistic son Ewan, 9, lost three stones after being referred to Connect 3, said he would have nowhere else to go for help.

Mrs Killey, of Waterton Road, Lupset, said: “We’ve always found it difficult because we have Ewan and four other children at home.

“The children they see really do need this help and parents really need the support. It’s just so sad for all these children.

“They help with diet, about calories and portions and exercise.”

Wakefield Council said 246 children were referred to Connect 3 in 2009-10, 133 in 2010-11, 148 in 2011-12 and 100 last year.

In 2012-13, just 14.7 per cent of children helped by Connect 3 reduced or maintained their Body Mass Index, a medical measure of body weight.

Dr Andrew Furber, the district’s director of public health, said: “Connect 3 has helped a number of children to lose weight, but the number of families accessing the service has dropped considerably since it started.

“Unfortunately, due to the financial pressures that we face and because the number of families who have received positive outcomes from Connect 3 is so small, we have made the difficult decision to cease funding for the programme.”

Dr Furber said a wide range of other obesity programmes were available.

He added: “For those children whose weight is having a critical effect on their health, we will explore opportunities for more intensive treatment, such as access to residential programmes.”