Funding lifeline for Norfolk Eating Disorders Association

A Norfolk charity at risk of having to cut its work with people with eating disorders has been given a funding lifeline.

Norfolk Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) was told by NHS Norfolk it would have its funding cut as part of a plan to streamline services for patients with the illness.

But now the charity has welcomed news that the primary care trust has agreed to fund its work for the next two years.

Ray Philpott, treasurer of NEDA, said: 'All of us at NEDA are delighted that Norfolk NHS have decided that the valuable service being offered should, in these difficult financial times be continued.'

The charity provides a face-to-face service and sees more than 300 people a year. It argues that its work allows people to access help in a more informal way than through the health service.

But because NHS Norfolk established a new Norfolk Community Eating Disorders Service, it was proposing to axe NEDA's funding, which was traditionally about �60,000.

Clive Rennie, NHS Norfolk's assistant director, mental health, said: 'We are not able to disclose the value of the contract because this is commercially sensitive, however we have agreed a revised sum with NEDA.

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'We recognise that NEDA provides valuable counselling and support for people with eating disorders who may not be in health care treatment.'

The funding application was supported by an online petition organised by former NEDA service-user, Liam, who appealed to his MP Chloe Smith for help in protecting the work of the charity.

The 27-year-old, who asked to be identified only as Liam, was dangerously ill when he sought help from NEDA two years ago.

The former anorexia sufferer said: 'I'm absolutely delighted that the Norfolk Eating Disorders Association can carry on its vital work doing what it does best – saving lives. If it wasn't for NEDA I would not be here today and I'd like to thank Chloe for her hard work in keeping such an invaluable service afloat in today's tough times.'

Miss Smith, MP for Norwich North, said: 'As patron of NEDA, I am absolutely delighted at the news they have managed to secure future funding. In writing to the PCT I stressed the value for money which NEDA's service represents through early holistic intervention.

'Taking their work with under-18s, for example, it seems clear that the earlier intervention can start in a patient's life, the more effective it can be. NEDA's work pays for itself and is a strong case for 'investment to save'.'

For more information about Norfolk EDA, go to www.norfolkeda.org.uk or for the charity's helpline call 01603 767062.

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