Hands of Hope is a registered charity number 1168016, set up in July 2016 to promote healthy, inclusive and environmentally sustainable food production and consumption in East Sussex and West Kent, with the intention of tackling childhood obesity and loneliness; currently two of the biggest threats in the UK to our health and general well-being.

Loneliness - The Need:

Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health. Lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (Campaign to end loneliness).

We know that:

  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)
  • Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)
  • 63% of adults aged 52 or over who have been widowed, and 51% of the same group who are separated or divorced report, feel lonely some of the time or often (Beaumont, 2013)
  • 59% of adults aged over 52 who report poor health say they feel lonely some of the time or often, compared to 21% who say they are in excellent health (Beaumont, 2013)
  • A higher percentage of women than men report feeling lonely some of the time or often (Beaumont, 2013)
  • A recent study carried out by Experian found the percentage of people aged over 50 living in Rother is set to rise from 51% to 58% by 2029. It currently has the third highest concentration of over 50s in England. In Rother, about a third of pensioners do not have access to a car.
  • by 2021 the number of older people is forecast to increase by 29% in rural areas, compared to 20% in urban areas.
  • Over the next twenty years, there will be a population increase of 19% in Kent. The largest increase is expected in the over 65 age band, an increase of 59.4%

Obesity – The Need:

Evidence suggests that there is a complex but important connection between obesity and emotional and mental health and wellbeing. This emerges during a child’s early years, with behavioural issues more prevalent among obese three years olds than their peers (Griffiths and others 2011). Obese children may be more likely than their peers to experience the burden of psychiatric and psychological disorders into adulthood (Rankin and others 2016).

The national Child Measurement Database provides detailed information about the state of childhood obesity and overweight. This data shows that 20.9% of Reception Year Children are overweight or obese across East Sussex; this includes a 1.8% growth of children in Hastings and Rother and 1.1% growth across the East Sussex area as a whole. In Year Six Children 28.1% are either overweight or obese across East Sussex, which when compared to Reception class rates is a real growth, suggesting an increasing problem through childhood development.

In Kent 757,146 people aged 16 and above are carrying excess weight. Obesity tends to track into adulthood, so obese children are more likely to become obese adults. Latest figures from the national child measurement programme show that most of Kent’s local authorities are on or below the national average for overweight and obesity for reception and year six. However, year six rates have increased in Kent when compared to the south east, although the average national and regional trend is also up.

The costs associated with childhood obesity are significant. According to an economic analysis in the Chief Medical Officer for England’s 2012 annual report, the short-term costs of childhood obesity are estimated at £51 million per year, and long-term costs (including health care and non-health care costs) estimated at £588–686 million (Strelitz 2013). Obese children generally become obese adults and an influential Foresight Report from 2007 estimated that NHS costs attributed to elevated BMI (overweight and obesity) were £4.2 billion in 2007. This was forecast to rise to £6.3 billion in 2015, £8.3 billion in 2025 and £9.7 billion in 2050.

    We have an experienced, multi-skilled Board of Trustees,
    with strong business acumen:

    James DoranFounder and Chair

    After running a successful Fire and Security company which employed over 200 people and provided services to some of the biggest names on the high street, James sold his national business in 2014 and began developing his passion for growing and eating home-grown, organic produce. Hope Farm was created, a 4 acre space producing organic fruit and vegetables, as well as a renewed passion for reconnecting children, families and the elderly with where their food comes from, encouraging healthier eating patterns and offering support to those suffering from childhood obesity or loneliness.

    With over 30 years experience of working in partnership with key players in the UK’s business communities, James is well positioned to develop and grow Hands of Hope, into a successful enterprise, supporting multiple projects.

    Sosi KaskanianCompany Secretary and Trustee

    As James’s business partner and Director of Customer Services and Project Management for over 20 years, Sosi brings a wealth of experience in delivery and leadership. As Company Secretary, she is responsible for driving and delivering the charities’ strategic objectives, both Capital projects and grass root initiatives.

    From partner-based projects through to the creation of new facilities, Sosi’s experience in budget management, health & safety and evaluation & monitoring, provides Hands of Hope with the experience to deliver projects expediently.

    Mandy DoranTrustee in charge of Volunteers and Marketing

    With over 25 years experience in Marketing and over 20 years experience working at Board Level, Mandy’s remit includes Marketing Communications, PR, Digital Marketing & Branding as well as the Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers.

    With a wealth of experience in launching and managing CSR programmes for large corporate as well as experience of working in partnership with high profile charities such as Kids Company and Age UK, Mandy’s objective is to extend the reach of our message both to Volunteers and to those members of our communities that will benefit from our projects.

    As a parent and a daughter, she is not only concerned about the challenges and increase in childhood obesity believing that early intervention can help children feel the benefits for the rest of their lives, but also at the lack of support for our ageing population with social care now being driven by local charities such as Hands of Hope.

    Mazin Al JumailiTrustee

    Responsible for the upkeep of our website. With over 25 years in Post production and a keen interest in emerging technologies as well as Social Media, Mazin’s role is to use both Digital Marketing & Social Media platforms to maximise our presence providing us with the ability to reach all of our key stakeholders including Volunteers, Clients as well as Funders.

    The Stats

    Read the Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet