Location: United Kingdom
Profession: Community Worker
I am Victoria. 48 years of age. I am married and have 3 boys. 2 that are 22 and a 14 year old. One of my boys has a very severe gluten allergy and another one is a diabetic .Food and diet have always played an important part of our lives.
I have worked as a primary school teacher for 20 years before qualifying as a SENCO and working closely with children that have autism, ADHD and various other educational needs. For the past 6 years I have worked along side my trusty therapy dog Arnold, who has seen me through some tough times with the children.
I bake with my children at school on a daily basis. It forms part of their day that helps regulate them. I feel as though I am onto something which could be much bigger than I could ever imagine, as children's attentions are turning away from the conventional curriculum and finding themselves within the exclusion zones. I feel that a more person centered approach is needed.
I am based in Blackpool. I play a large role within the authorities Special Needs department. I also work with the Blackpool parent forum. I organize parent support groups and spend a great deal of time listening to our young people and making sure their needs are met.
Passionate about Baking as Lifestyle Medicine
I firstly read Pauline Beaumont's book - Bread Therapy- which I had seen advertised in a magazine. I was instantly hooked by the title. After reading it and doing some digging and researching came across Sourdough school and spent the next four hours reading every article, clicking on every link downloading prospectuses etc.. I knew from that moment that my whole career and focus on life was going to take an interesting turn. I began talking to parents about their children's health and diet. I couldn't believe how many children have digestion and bowel issues, not only that but how many parent's also have similar issues. It would appear that the problem is epic . In addition to these conversations spiking my interest, is my underlying ignorance surrounding the gut. My two children have autoimmune issues and I have never found any answer to the problem, despite spending many years in an out of doctor's surgeries when they were young.
I know that what I learn on the course will fuel my fire to help make changes for our children and their families.
Blackpool is one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK. We hit every possible area of failure there is. We have the highest referral rate for social care and early help in England. I am in a position to begin to make changes by introducing children and families to real bread. There is a hunger in my area of work for supporting mental health, improving physical health and learning to slow down the pace of life. There is a huge social inequality even between Blackpool and the rest of Lancashire. When speaking to our families, many of them self confess that they have little knowledge about nutrition, other than the basic 5 veg/fruit a day. There is a huge appetite for real education. Information that actually will make improvements to individuals lives. This would be transformative and would help to break the cycle of ignorance and equip our young people with life long skills.
How I use BALM Protocol
Once I have secured the knowledge, I will then couple it with my teaching skills to deliver intervention sessions to our young people who are surfing on the cusp of exclusion. I will invite parent and child to learn together in a bonding experience that will give them a unique skill for them to use in order to improve both their mental and physical health. I will also use my skills to address issues within our employees. The well being of our staff is a considerable concern , with a significant amount of staff suffering from tiredness, low mood, obesity, bowel issues and this leads to absences and children being without teachers. I have talked to our lead education director about this and it has generated a lot of interest, the future is exciting as the knowledge that I gain will be disseminated far and wide with a hope of improving the health of our Blackpool families.