Beat’s Norfolk young ambassadors asked to appear on television

Two young ambassadors from Norfolk are to appear on national television to raise awareness and challenge the stigma attached to eating disorders.

Beat – the UK's leading eating disorder charity, which is based in Norwich – has a group of young ambassadors across the country, who are all recovering or recovered and determined to help others by campaigning.

Among them are 19-year-old Jamie Pye, from Norwich, and 20-year-old Sophie Lowe, from Reepham, who will both be appearing on television programmes to promote Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Jamie, a former Aylsham High School pupil, will be travelling to Manchester on Monday, the start of the awareness week, to be on 'the sofa' for BBC Children's Newsround to talk about his experience and encourage others to speak out.

Sophie Lowe will be appearing on Channel 5's Gabby Logan Show today, talking about the campaigning work she does on behalf of others.

Beat's campaign message this year is 'Break the Silence'.

A nationwide survey carried out by the charity with more than 1,000 responses found that 56pc of young people did not tell anyone about their eating disorder because they did not know how to talk about it.

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A spokeswoman for the charity said: 'We all need to break the silence about eating disorders so that sufferers come forward, loved ones can approach those they are concerned about, and everyone is aware of the illnesses.

'The more people can talk about eating disorders in an understanding way, the more those affected will feel they can reach out for support.'

Penny Baily, a founder-director of Norwich-based Newmarket House Clinic, in Newmarket Road, said she was concerned there was a growing trend within the NHS to treat people with moderate to severe eating disorders in community-based services instead of at specialist units.

As a result Newmarket House is now admitting patients with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 14, and she said she was worried that it was considered acceptable for people with a BMI of less than 15 to receive no more than perhaps a weekly one-hour appointment in an overstretched community service.

Mrs Baily said: 'For this small group it is necessary to invest in effective treatment in dedicated units where specialist teams are expert in this field.'

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