Fundraising News: Obesity group loses DoH funding

Joe Gill

The charity that lobbied the Commons Health Select Committee to raise the alert about the national obesity crisis in a recent report has had its government funding axed.

Obesity awareness and solutions trust Toast accused the Government of hypocrisy after its application for funding under the Section 64 grant scheme from the Department of Health was turned down.

In a letter to the charity the department gave no specific reason for the decision other than "intense competition" for funding.

Charity administrator Sue Diebelius said: "It is just crazy and absolutely amazing that this is a top priority for the Department of Health, they are spending billions on the obesity problem, but they cannot find a tiny amount of money to fund us. We would like to know where that money's gone. We are trying to support 10 million people."

Heath Minister Melanie Johnson said in evidence to the select committee that tackling obesity was a top priority.

Diebelius said: "We were instrumental in getting the health committee chair David Amess MP to take up the obesity issue. No one else was banging the drum on this at the time."

The charity had been given £40,000 a year for core funding over two years by the Department of Health for 2001/2 and 2002/3.

"We are trying to get funding from other sources. We've had some funding from Lloyds TSB and private funders to allow us to tick over. We are going to limp along at this point in time," she said.

Toast was founded in 1998 by Jackie Cox, who has herself battled obesity, and worked previously in the slimming industry.

The charity has one full-time and two part-time staff, and provides a helpline for people affected by obesity.

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