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About Us

About Us

What is Spark?

Spark is a FREE 12-week group programme* for children aged 7-13 and their families. The programme consists of fun games and activities helping families make small changes for a BIG difference. You will learn how to make healthier food choices and how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, whilst becoming more active.

 

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Looking for a fun way for the family to get healthy together? Spark can help!

Spark aims and programme details

 Our aim is to tackle childhood obesity by providing a range of programmes to address the needs of children and young people in Bucks who are above a healthy weight. We strive to help families to lead healthier lifestyles through behaviour change techniques that lead to a subsequent improvement in weight using our exciting programme.

We support children and their families over a twelve week period to develop and maintain healthy eating and activity behaviours that have been linked to maintaining a healthy weight. Our goal is to reduce childhood obesity and its effects in Bucks, particularly focusing on increasing children and young people's participation in physical activity using a selection of fun sports and games.

Spark sessions are held in a range of locations across Bucks and are held during early evenings and weekends. To find out more and enrol with Spark:

Enrol

Spark Programme Timeline

Spark is a service for children aged 7-13 however, there are other support options for children and young people outside of this age group. The timeline is a visual representation demonstrating the referral pathways available through Spark and Live Well Stay Well for children and teenagers:

  • Healthy Eating Packs are sent to parents either via email or by post. Children are added to the Spark waiting list so families can be contacted when their child turns 7.
  • Spark is available for children aged 7-13 where families get support with healthy eating, physical activity and mindfulness.
  • Free2Go is available to Children aged between 11-15. If this is the option of choice, Spark can refer. For those who have completed Spark, Free2go is also an option for further support.

Free2Go is a free* programme provided by Slimming World who also work with Live Well Stay Well to support adults maintain a healthy weight. Free2Go is a specially devised healthy eating plan for teenagers, which focuses on the power of Free Food and Healthy Extras and encourages the step-by-step reduction of less healthy foods like burgers, chocolate and confectionary.

 

  • Aged 16 and over*: teenagers can be referred to Live Well Stay Well  to get support with  free* adult weight management programmes, Live Well Stay Well can refer them to face to face or remote (telephone) support programmes, they can choose the right option for themselves. 

*eligibility criteria applies

We encourage all families to follow Spark on Facebook and Twitter as our posts and their content can be applied to different age groups. So no matter how old children are, we have something to support them to lead a healthier lifestyle!

  

Meet The Team

Owain Johns

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Owain Johns

As an BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition Graduate and British Nutrition Foundation Associate, I enjoy sharing my expertise and passion to assist in the development and design of strategic and innovative approaches to helping young people live a healthier lifestyle.

My training and background is in nutrition, physical activity, health promotion and mental health. I’ve facilitated healthy lifestyle programmes throughout Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and London.  I regularly attend CAMHS workshops to ensure I recognise and understand mental health conditions and how to support clients in accessing different services.

It’s very important to me that families who attend programmes choose to be there, as opposed to having to be. My goal is to ensure learning and practising good nutrition and physical activity is fun, enjoyable and accessible for everyone.

 

Nelle Makinde

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Nelle Makinde

I have been working as a registered Nutritionist for five years, helping families and individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices. I have run healthy cookery clubs for children and teenagers, supported adults on their weight loss journey and delivered nutrition workshops in schools and in the workplace.

I am particularly passionate about child nutrition and for the past few years I have dedicated a lot of time and energy to organising programmes which help families across Buckinghamshire eat a healthier diet and increase physical activity. 

As a mum myself I know all too well that it can be hard to get children eating a balance diet, especially when dealing with a fussy eater! In my eyes, the key is first and foremost to make healthy food and exercise enjoyable and exciting and secondly to give children the knowledge on why it is important to eat a balanced diet and keep active. Any positive changes to lifestyle, even if small, will be invaluable in making a difference to overall health. This is why I am so excited to be a part of the SPARK programme.

Alison Wright

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Alison Wright

I have studied Food, Nutrition and Health and Public Health Nutrition at university and have a background in catering. I have recently worked as a Get Healthy Coach, helping adults make lifestyle changes to be healthier and lose weight. I am now working as a Live Well Stay Well Coach and am supporting the SPARK team develop and run the programme.

Catherine Reidy

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Catherine Reidy

As a Live Well Stay Well Coach, I enjoy connecting with people and helping them achieve their health goals.

I have a degree in psychology and a keen interest in positive psychology, mindfulness and coaching.

Being a part of the Spark programme has been amazing because I believe the best way to encourage health and wellbeing in our communities is by educating and empowering young people.

It's wonderful to see the whole family getting involved, to see the progress being made in real-time and to see families having fun getting active and eating well!

I'm also excited to be working with Spark colleagues on incorporating some more mindfulness/mental health activities into the programme.

I believe that a holistic approach to health and wellbeing is vital and that mental health and physical health are interconnected. When we feel better we take better care of our health, and vice versa!

Hannah Blatchly

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Hannah Blatchly

I have always had a passion for healthy eating and physical activity. My love of Physical Activity began as a child when I began recreational and competitive trampolining. This swiftly followed with an 8 year career in coaching children and adults at a recreational and competitive level. The desire to support children and adults in having healthy lifestyles continued throughout my years of studying Sport, Physical Activity and Health which allowed me to see the psychological, nutritional and bio mechanical benefits of being active amongst all age groups. This transpired into following job roles as a Holiday Camp Manager where the main aim was to ensure children were active but having fun whilst they were doing it!

I now work with a the great Spark team and am motivated to support families in adopting healthy, balanced and active lifestyles. Alongside this I teach trampoline based fitness which really is a fun way to be active!

I am very excited about working with families and seeing the progression from the start to the finish of a programme. I look forward to meeting you!

Bhamini Patel

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Bhamini Patel

I have a passion for healthy eating, physical activity and general wellbeing. I believe in a holistic approach which means providing for your physical, mental and social needs, so caring for the whole person.  I have worked in various nurseries helping with meals and making them as healthy as possible as well as various activities with the children to help them learn basic cooking methods. I went on to study a BSc in Food and Nutrition at university and after this I completed an MSc in Nutrition. I am now an Associate Nutritionist registered with the Association for Nutrition. 

I work as a Live Well Stay Well Coach and by doing so I can  support a range of families in making healthier lifestyle choices. I am really excited to be part of the SPARK team to help develop and run the programme and ensure that families get the best possible experience. 

Tatenda Maereka

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Tatenda Maereka

Growing up I was always interested in sports and the rewarding nature of the competitive environment. I was always involved in athletics and I played both football and rugby for a combined 4 years. However, my focus soon changed when I went to university and specialised in physical activity and exercise. 

I achieved a BSc (Hons) Sports Science and Exercise Practice, followed by a MSc Physical Activity for Health. During this time, I learned to love the simpler physical activities. I came to understand how these have a direct impact on not only your physical wellbeing, but also your mental wellbeing. 

There’s often a misconception that you have to always exercise really hard and be in pain to reap the benefits. In actual fact, you don’t always have to come away with aching muscles and joints and you can have a lot of fun with it. Being able to help others enjoy physical activity is what I love the most.