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Mona's story

Mona Shah, a mum from Bradford, was determined to break the family legacy of poor eating habits. Inspired by the programme and the impact it had on her own family, Mona decided to volunteer for HENRY and support families living in her community to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

HENRY’s focus on giving children the best start immediately appealed to me. I’m overweight and I didn’t want that for my son. My upbringing was entirely focused on food. Food was entertainment, a way to show love and given as a reward – which explains my own relationship with food and poor eating habits. I had to break this cycle for my son. When he was about to start eating solid food, the HENRY programme felt like a good place to start.

That was two years ago, and the impact the programme’s had on me and my family is huge. It helped me to be a better parent and I wanted to help other parents give their children the best start. In Bradford, you see a lot of parents and children struggling. I was determined to support other families, so I decided to become a HENRY volunteer.

The volunteer training really boosted my confidence and I felt ready to support other parents in my area. I try to reach as many people as possible. I go to parks, schools and children’s centres. I asked the local primary school if I could have a corner of the playground, where I could help parents with ideas for healthy lunches. The response was amazing – they loved it. When I talked to them about the HENRY programme they all wanted to go on it. Soon we started to build up a waiting list.

Becoming a volunteer also gave me the confidence to get together with local parents to start a weekly playgroup, so I am now able to support even more families.

Helping other parents within my own community is a positive way I can make a difference to children’s future health. Volunteering for HENRY has become a passion for me. I just love the programme. It has changed my life and helped me make a better future for my son. We are so much more active and happier and I want to help other families to achieve this.

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