TWO Church of England volunteers who set up a charity to support families affected by eating disorders have been recognised with an award from the Prime Minister.
The volunteers, Jean Hart, from Southampton, and Di Archer, from Kenilworth, have been given a Points of Light award by Mrs May: a daily award from 10 Downing Street which seeks to thank and recognise the contribution of dedicated volunteers.
Ms Hart and Ms Archer set up the charity, Tastelife, in 2013, after struggling to find support for their daughters, who both suffered from eating disorders (Features, 20 April). The course, which originated in Highfield Church, in Southampton, is aimed at sufferers and their carers, and was developed with help from a GP, Dr Ros Simpson.
In her letters to Ms Hart and Ms Archer, Mrs May praised their “remarkable dedication”, which is making a “real difference”.
“You have both responded to the struggle of supporting daughters with eating disorders by creating a tremendous force for good. Your ambitious work with ‘tastelife’ is not only providing sufferers with vital support on their path to recovery, but also giving carers and families much needed guidance in how to cope with the daily difficulties of eating disorders,” her letter said.
The eight weekly sessions for sufferers and carers help families to cope with the struggles of eating disorders, and are now run in 27 locations around the country. They have also developed a new course, “Awareness of Eating Disorders”, which will be delivered in schools to help young people understand more about attitudes and behaviours towards food and eating.
Ms Hart and Ms Archer are the 1054th and 1055th winners of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the successful Points of Light programme in the United States.