Nutritionist launches Dietwise company to help families shape up
DAWN Shotton has set up community interest company, Dietwise, to give children and their parents advice on how to shape up and change their relationship with food.
Her venture is one of the first recipients of grant aid from the North-East Foundation for Women in Enterprise, a new organisation set up to support women in business.
Dawn worked as a dietician in the NHS for more than 20 years but said she became increasingly disillusioned as the workload spiralled.
“I saw the number of people needing help increasing all the time – and we didn’t have the resources to cope. Everyone was working very hard and doing their best, but we couldn’t offer the kind of comprehensive intervention patients needed. A ten-minute consultation just wasn’t enough.”
People didn’t need to be told not to eat junk food; they knew it was wrong. They needed help to change their behaviour. I felt powerless.
“It’s no good just educating children about healthy eating and a good diet. We need to get their mums and dads on board, too. By educating families – not just children – we can make a huge difference.”
So Dawn quit the NHS and set up a new company, Dietwise, dedicated to providing one-to-one support for children and, just as importantly, their families.
Dawn’s approach helps children and their parents to lead a healthier lifestyle and runs cookery and diet classes for mums and dads.
She explained: “Over six weeks I go into schools and teach children about the foods that are good for them. We learn about fruit smoothies instead of sugary fizzy drinks, how to make pizza from healthy ingredients and experiment with new fruits that many of them haven’t seen before.”
Dawn is one of several entrepreneurs who recently received a grant from the North-East Foundation for Women in Business which she used to buy a parachute showing the eat-well plate – a national healthy diet tool which highlights the different foods that make up our diet and shows the proportions we should eat them in.
“It’s important when working with primary school children to make learning enjoyable. By using a play parachute, we can do some fun exercises and talk about healthy eating at the same time,” said Dawn from Hartlepool who is also an expert in the mindfulness technique for mental wellbeing.
“Mindfulness makes people more self-aware and if we think about what we are eating we tend not to eat as much. For instance, using mindfulness people often find that eating just one piece of chocolate is enough – rather than snacking on the whole bar.”
The North-East Foundation for Women in Enterprise was established last year to help women in the region who are running their own businesses. The development fund, set up with help from North East legal firm Hewitts, makes grant awards several times a year.
Other recipients of its funding include Lucy Patterson, LPH Associates, Hartlepool, for hardware to help produce a series of coaching webinars; Jacqueline Pink, a grant towards marketing and setting up a website and Julie Harrison, Inspiron Learning, Stockton, help to set up a junior engineering company that will give young people a real life experience of running their own engineering business.
Brenda Davidson, managing partner at Hewitts and a leading member of the foundation, added: “The first grant applications proved to us what a vibrant women-in-business community we have in the North-East. We are delighted to be able to support them and will be watching their progress with interest.”
For more information about Dietwise visit http://dietwise.co.uk or contact Dawn on 07928-248727.