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Susannah's story

Susannah Bailey, a mum from Vauxhall in London, decided to sign up to a HENRY programme because her daughters would only eat a very limited range of food. She had no idea the long-lasting positive impact the programme would have.

Last year I was in a really bad place. I was in an abusive relationship but it wasn’t until I went on the HENRY programme I realised how unhealthy the relationship was. It helped me to understand that me and my children deserved better and gave me the confidence to leave.

I was living with my two children aged seven and two, and their dad. I had lost all my friends and was isolated from my family. Life felt stressful, the children were very quiet and clearly unhappy.

When I saw that a HENRY programme was running at the local children’s centre, I decided to do it, mainly because the girls were fussy eaters and I was also worried about how unhealthy I was. I thought it would be all about healthy eating, but it was actually so much more. I started a programme and ended up with a completely new life.

Before, I’d buy freezer food, I would give my daughters huge portions. At night I’d binge on food – it provided comfort, but my weight gain only served to make me feel worse. I didn’t want my daughters to go the same way as me.

From HENRY, I gained an understanding of portion sizes, and also the confidence and motivation I needed to start cooking from scratch. I involved the girls in cooking and chopping vegetables. We all sit down for dinner together. Making meals together is a real family thing.

I also learned about boundaries, being in charge in a good way as a parent and avoiding using food to comfort or reward my children.

My youngest daughter was always very clingy, now she is much more independent. My eldest has come out of her shell and has turned into a real chatterbox who loves being outdoors.

We are more active and go to the park, even if it is raining. It’s surprising how a programme can change your life. The girls are happier now and I have dropped three dress sizes!

We are now a secure family unit. I’m so thankful I joined a HENRY programme. I always wanted to do my best for the girls and bring them up in a healthy environment, but just couldn’t take the first step. Little did I know then, signing up for the programme would have as big an impact as it did.

Now I’m a really good mum. I can provide for my children and keep them safe. HENRY has given me confidence and ambition to grow as a parent. My children now have a much brighter future.

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