Migrant worker aid for eating disorders

Migrant workers in Thetford are set to get more help with beating anorexia and bulimia as part of a pilot project funded by an international company.Officials at a leading national eating disorders charity spoke of their delight last week after receiving a cheque from one of the biggest employers in the town.

Migrant workers in Thetford are set to get more help with beating anorexia and bulimia as part of a pilot project funded by an international company.

Officials at a leading national eating disorders charity spoke of their delight last week after receiving a cheque from one of the biggest employers in the town.

The £18,000 donation from Baxter International Healthcare will enable the Norwich-based Beat to give more health support to vulnerable migrant families in the area.

The charity, which provides a helpline and network of support groups for adults and young people, says that more than a million people in the UK are affected by eating disorders.


You may also want to watch:


However, no work or research has been done with the tens of thousands of Portuguese and Eastern European men and women that come to the UK to work.

The funding from Baxter, which employs around 700 people at its healthcare equipment manufacturing facility at Caxton Way, Thetford, will enable Beat to work in the local community over the next 18 months.

Most Read

Emma Healey, director of operations of the charity, said that if the pilot proved successful, it would provide a national model for other towns and cities with large migrant populations.

“One of the main issues around Thetford is that it has a substantial Portuguese community and we thought it would be a really interesting opportunity to see what the incidence of eating disorders may be.

“We know there are issues around differences in culture and being away from home, which can make migrant workers highly vulnerable to develop mental health conditions, including eating disorders,” she said.

An estimated 30 out of every 1,000 people in the UK have anorexia or bulimia, but it is thought that migrants may be more vulnerable.

The pioneering project will allow Beat to set up self-help groups in Thetford and work closely with GPs and other health organisations to provide more support and information about eating disorders.

Nikki Martin, communications associate for Baxter, said the funds came from the company's International Foundation, which gives millions of pounds to charities across the world every year.

“We are one of the largest employers in the area and we want to show our support to another healthcare organisation and help make a difference to people's lives,” she said.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter