LiveWest fund toddler allergy playgroup
In recent years the subject of food allergies has been thrust into the limelight and, at last, it is being taken seriously. Reports have been commissioned and studies conducted as the food industry wakes up to the growing problem.
Statistics show that the incidence of food allergy is greater in toddlers – between five and eight per cent – than adults.
So when Beth discovered her daughter was suffering from food intolerance's, she decided to do her bit to help tackle the problem.
Having had to quit her role as a nurse due to her daughter’s complex needs, Beth retrained in childcare before coming up with the idea of launching a toddler allergies play group.
LiveWest saw the potential in Beth and her business idea and provided a £500 grant to set up Flamingos, since then the popularity has rocketed.
The sessions run like a normal playgroup but there is no food or drink and everything is either brand new or sterilised to avoid any contamination. It allows parents who might have become socially isolated due to their children’s needs to socialise with other parents experiencing similar challenges. And it also paves the way for children to play in a care-free environment without the threat of anything which could trigger an allergy.
Beth, explains in the below video “the danger when you have a child with food allergies is that you don’t interact socially...it helps parents realise they are not alone out there, someone else is going through the same thing.”
Beth has been staggered by the positive reaction to her pioneering project and it has persuaded her to try and roll out the concept across the nation.
She added: “The feedback has been brilliant. I have had people from America and Australia contact me to say there is nothing like this in their country.
“I started advertising through Facebook and put posters out in doctor’s surgeries, community centres and other places. I just wanted to spread the word that we are here for you.”
Beth asked the Free from Fairy – an online recipe programme focusing on gluten and dairy free meals – and the Devon Allergies Clinic to come along to the sessions in an effort to drive the project forward.
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