Natalie is Founder and CEO of The Feeding Trust, an award-winning not-for-profit CIC that aims to offer life-changing feeding therapy that is largely free at the point of access. The Feeding Trust provides a service for children and young people (CYP) with Paediatric Feeding Disorders (PFDs). PFDs are a hidden disability; a relatively unheard group of complex feeding difficulties that can have a huge and often unrecognised impact on CYP and their families, resulting in dangerously restricted diets and long-term physical and mental health challenges.
Natalie is a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) who has specialised in feeding therapy for the past 15 years. She co-ordinates a multi-disciplinary feeding team consisting of SLTs, Occupational Therapists, Dietitians and Psychologists. The Feeding Trust was launched in January 2020, at the beginning of the global pandemic. Natalie identified how families were needing more support than ever as the social isolation and consequences of Covid-19 began to impact on their health and well-being.
The Shackleton Award will enable The Feeding Trust to adapt and respond to the challenges families are facing as a result of prolonged lockdown and reduced access to healthcare services. The Feeding Trust will launch “Home Zone”, an on-line project that will enable families of CYP with severe feeding difficulties to access support from qualified professionals within their own home. Alongside this, we will provide specialist advice pacts and an on-line parent support group. The aim is to reduce the feeling of isolation for CYP and their families, help build support networks and connect people in similar situations through online community groups. We hope this project will have a long-term impact as families are provided with the knowledge and skills to make meal times, good times.