A care service in Neston, Cheshire, is supporting a young man to lose weight by helping him to improve his cooking skills and to do more exercise.
Ben Harling, 29, who has Down’s syndrome, and lives at Manor Barn supported living service, is steadily losing the pounds, and hopes to hit his target weight by next spring.
Manor Barn is run by the Regard Group, the UK’s fourth biggest private provider of supported living and specialist residential services for people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and acquired brain injury.
Senior support worker Stuart Thompson said: “Ben really likes his food but struggles to understand the importance of healthy eating.
“We are supporting him to improve his cooking skills as a way of teaching him about nutrition and he’s really taking everything on board.
“We are helping him identify the different food groups, how to use less fat by baking or grilling, and how to select foods that make you feel fuller for longer.
“Being over-weight really affects Ben’s self-esteem. He loves football and would really like to be sportier and not feel so self-conscious.”
The Manor Barn support team believe the best way to approach Ben’s weight-loss ambition is to reinforce his achievements through praise.
He is weighed every Friday at Neston day centre where his progress is tracked as he loses the pounds and edges towards his goal.
Liverpool supporter Ben moved to the service in 2015 from the family home in Chester and has settled down well.
He recently raised money for the local lifeboat service running a tombola stall and has won a number of medals for his sports activities, including football and swimming.
Ben’s long-term aim is to work in a shop. Support staff are currently trying to secure a volunteering position in a local charity shop as a stepping-stone to help him achieve this goal.
Manor Barn caters for adults with enduring mental health needs or learning difficulties, Asperger’s, autism and acquired brain injury, providing a home for up to seven people, including two self-contained flats surrounded by spacious grounds.
The service offers a chance for individuals from Denbighshire, Flintshire, Merseyside, Wirral and Cheshire West and Chester to live independent lives, while at the same time having access to the relevant level of support they need.
The community feel of the service is enhanced by the provision of a communal area where people can meet up, cook meals together and relax with each other.
Manor Park is run by the Regard Group which cares for more than 1,300 people, with a dedicated staff of over 2,600 people on 161 sites across the UK.