In response to the need to suspend its 19,000 community groups across the UK and Ireland because of the coronavirus pandemic, Slimming World has announced the launch of a new temporary ‘virtual’ weight loss service.
The service will enable Slimming World’s members to continue to enjoy – in a virtual environment – the vital weight loss support, but also the friendship and community spirit that they find in their local group each week.
The new service also means that Slimming World’s 5,000 consultants, who are self-employed franchisees, can continue to offer a service, at a discounted fee, so that they can continue to work and earn their own living during the weeks and months ahead.
Slimming World’s CEO Caryl Richards said: “Our groups bring people together in the heart of their communities, to support and inspire one another every week.
"In these anxious times, the community spirit and the genuine care we provide has never been more important.
"We’ve had countless messages from members who are genuinely distressed at losing their group and their weight loss lifeline, who are already missing the camaraderie each week, and who desperately want to hang on to the changes they have made towards a healthier, fitter lifestyle.
"So we’ve done our very best to put a new ‘virtual group’ in place which gives our members the same practical help, caring support and friendship they’ve come to rely on, and gives our consultants the means to sustain their livelihoods in the challenging times ahead.”
The new package will include access to a weekly ‘virtual’ group using video conferencing.
A Slimming World consultant will host their group and invite members to join from home to continue to get support to make healthier food choices and find new ways to stay active indoors during these difficult times.
The emphasis will be on building and staying in control of healthy new lifestyle habits when it might not be as easy as it is under normal circumstances – helping members find ways to make groceries go a bit further, and easy ways to shop, cook and eat healthily at a time when access to food is changing.
Slimming World’s unique formula built on compassion, care and understanding, bringing a welcome bit of light in hard times, will be more important now than ever before.
All of this will be combined with the ongoing use of social media, and access to Slimming World’s app and member-only website LifelineOnline, which will provide members with all the practical help they need, as well as advice about how to stay physically active and psychologically strong too.
Caryl Richards added: “In these anxious times, the community spirit and the genuine care we provide has never been more important."
Commenting on the temporary virtual service, Mrs Richards said: “We’ve created this new service so that we can continue to give our members the very best support, to help them hang on to the changes they’ve already made towards living a healthier life and – even more importantly – to keep in touch with their slimming community.
"None of us know just what we’re facing in the next few weeks, so we feel sure that anything which can bring practical support as well as friendship, relief and reassurance will be welcomed.
“While we believe nothing rivals the unbeatable magic of a Slimming World group, and though we may be physically apart, we don’t need to be alone. Technology can help us stay together.”
Laura Bounford, team developer for Congleton & Biddulph Slimming World groups, explained: “Over the past two weeks we have been working tirelessly together, to come up with creative ways to support all of our members and each other too.
"We have had to attend online training to help up-skill ourselves, we have contacted every single member across the team, approximately 800 members and we have offered help and support to those who need it to ensure every member can be actively involved.
"We wanted to make sure no-one felt isolated at this time, and have run our first virtual groups last week, with members young and old joining in, it’s been truly remarkable and our care, commitment and community spirit is really shining through more than ever.
"I feel so lucky to be a part of something so special and if anyone reading this has been a member with us before and feels they would like to join in, then I’d love to encourage you to get in touch with any of our consultants or myself for more information.
"I am really excited too, as I know personally it took me three years to find the courage to physically walk through the doors of my local Slimming World Group and I truly believe this new temporary virtual group option may be just the stepping stone some people may need to ease them into joining us.
"From the comfort of your own home, without even leaving your sofa, you could join in with our online virtual groups which could help to build your confidence and reduce social isolation at such a challenging time for us all.
"We really are here to help anyone at all that would like our support."
There are Slimming World groups currently looking for a new consultant in Congleton, Biddulph & surrounding areas.
There are two online opportunity events coming up at 6:30pm on Friday 31st July & 4pm on Sunday 2nd August to help you to find out all you need to know about the role.
Our local virtual groups are currently:
Claire Woodward - Monday evening & Tuesday morning 07723 326845
Di Meakin - Tuesday evening - 07930 834514
Kedren Elliott - Thursdays 07702 174155
Laura Bounford - Wednesday evening 07595535816
Sophie Venn - Friday morning and Saturday morning 07866 743220
You can find the "Congleton & Biddulph Slimming World Team" on Facebook to view the opportunity events and to book your place.
Alternatively contact Slimming World's team developer in Congleton & Biddulph, Laura Bounford on 07595 535 816 for more information or to find your local group.