Archive for January, 2008

Progress Report January 2008

January 29, 2008

graham menzies foundation

progress report no. 4


Hi everybody!

From now on, our monthly report will always be available here on the last day of the month. Just log on to then click “blog”.

daffodilJanuary 2008


I’m not sure where to begin or who to thank first! So I think I’ll start with the letters. So many of you took the time and made the effort to send us letters of recommendation and support for our Welsh Centre for Recovery Project – and at a particularly busy time of year! I am truly grateful to you all and would like to say a BIG thankyou.



02 Community Awards are giving us a grant (hoorah)! …But they haven’t told us how much we will be awarded yet! Very mysterious… I’ll keep you up-dated!

The donation link on our web site will soon be active. I’m just waiting for our charity pay-pal account to be confirmed.


Web site

A million-billion-trillion thanks to the multi-talented Darren Jones who has created this site and blog. In addition to being a fabulous web designer I have it on good authority that Darren is also a health conscious cook and a marvellous constituency officer.

This site is still in progress but all the links will soon be active.


A beautiful logo is being designed by Suzanne Barrett and Joanna in Hamburg. It is so pretty I almost cried! The logo is winging it’s way to the UK as fast as it can – I can’t wait for you all to see it! It’s even better than this one (right). Graham would be so proud…


I was on TV! I was on TV! They made we walk up and down the stairs outside the Welsh Assembly about fifteen times – I felt as though I was on “America’s Next Top Model”.

I was also busy with radio interviews and formal statments, mainly because Bethan Jenkins AM organised the lauch of an All Party Eating Disorders Group. (To read more about the group click separate “Cross Party Group” link).

In brief… Edwina Hart was much funnier and less scary than I could have imagined. I ate all the grapes and bought some glittery gell pens from the millenium centre shop (but they didn’t work) which was rubbish because I was taking the minutes. Many clever people had imaginative thoughts and ideas regarding eating disorders awareness week. And…

I spoke to a couple at the end who have a niece with anorexia. Her bmi is dangerously low and they can’t find any appropiate help. They nolonger know what to do. It was heartbreaking.


Eating disorders Awareness Week (EDAW)

…begins on the 25th Feb. This year the special interest subject is carers. To take part in a study or to raise funds, visit the national eating disorders association at:

We are also planning an awareness raising day at WAG on Wednesday 27th. If you would like to be represented or to take part in some way then please contact me, or Bethan Jenkins AM.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2008

Bethan Jenkins AM,

Chair Cross Party Committee on Eating Disorders

Invites you to an event to mark Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2008

Venue: The Neuadd, National Assembly for Wales

Time: 17:30

Date: Wednesday, 27th February 2008

Details to follow


Wythnos Ymwybyddiaeth Anhwylderau Bwyta 2008

Mae Bethan Jenkins AC

Yn eich gwahodd i ddigwyddiad i nodi

Wythnos Ymwybyddiaeth Anhwylderau Bwyta 2008

Lleoliad: Y Neuadd, Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru

Amser: 17:30

Dyddiad: Dydd Mervher, 27ain o Chwefror 2008

Manylion i ddilyn


I don’t write much about Graham here. There are a few posts under “grief” (right hand side of this page).

But… Graham Clifford Menzies died on the 24th January 2007. He was a giant amongst men. It was the one year anniversary of his death on Thursday and I am as completely, madly, crazily and wonderfully in love with him today as I was this time last year.

I miss you with every fibre of my being Graham and I am so proud and humbled and privalidged to have been loved by you.

Your Wenna





Graham with turtle XXX





Progress Report, November – December 2007

January 28, 2008

business-card-imagejpg.jpgSefydliad Graham Menzies Graham Menzies Foundation

November/December 2007

Dear friends,

We hope that November and December were positive for you and we wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

This is our third progress report. Please feel free to contact Rowenna Menzies on 01970 881052 for further information or details.

Can you help us?

We are currently developing a comprehensive data base of all services in Wales that treat or address eating disorders at any level. We are particularly interested in promoting voluntary sector services.

If your organisation helps people with eating disorders (even if it is not your primary “target” group) then please tell us. If you know of another organisation that works in this area, please forward them this mail or send us their contact details.

What then?

We will send you a brief form to fill in. The form will request basic information such as your geographic location within Wales, the type or level of care you are able to offer, who you can help and how people should access your services.

What will we do with this information?

The data base will be available to everybody, free of charge, on our web site. It will enable anybody looking for help to rapidly identify treatment options and facilities near their home. It will also allow services to locate and contact each other.

Where appropriate we will also include links to individual web pages.


Thankyou to Carmarthenshire County Council who awarded us a grant of £628! Every penny counts!

Thankyou also to Laura Ashley for their generous donation.

Other happenings…

We were visited by a representative from the lottery who is helping us develop our application further. There is a great deal to do now – I will be a very busy bee in the New Year!

Partnership & promotion

Cyswllt Contact Ceredigion

I gave a presentation about our project to the directors of Cyswllt Contact Ceredigion last month. The board have approved our shared grant application for dual diagnosis treatment. Hoorah!

Now all we need is funding for a residential unit!


I also gave a presentation to a cross section of staff from Gorwellion. They were incredibly supportive, enthusiastic and it will be an absolute pleasure to work with them in the future.


Visiting cavo (Ceredigion Association of Voluntary Organisations) was such a positive experience. They offered information, support, contacts and ideas. What a brilliant organisation, thankyou!

To all of you

Many, many thanks to the fifteen organisations who wrote letters of support for our project. We deeply appreciate you taking the time (particularly at this busy time of year). Thankyou very much!

Events and activities.


ll-party group

Bethan Jenkins AM facilitated an initial meeting for the all party group which aims to address treatment options currently available to people in Wales who suffer from an eating disorder.

The next meeting will be held in The Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff, in 15th January.

We welcome representatives from any related or interested organisations – please contact me if you are interested.

Eating Disorder Awareness Week, Feb 23rd-29th 2008

We are planning an awareness raising day at the Assembly in Cardiff. If any interested/associated organisations would like to take part, please let us know. Involvement could be anything from a presentation to leaflets which advertise your organisation. All are welcome.

Are you interested?

BBC Cymru are developing a new, multi-platform discussion programme for young people in Wales and are putting together a feature on eating disorders.

If you have suffered from an eating disorder now or in the past, and would be interested in raising awareness and helping others by being interviewed on t.v. then please let us know.

You need to speak Welsh and be under 18.

Your Story

If you have suffered from an eating disorder (now or in the past), or if you have cared for/been affected by someone with an eating disorder… we would like your story!

Short stories for our web site to inspire, interest and engage…

Longer stories to be published as part of a collective volume.

Season’s Greetings to you all!

Thankyou for your support this year.

Warmest wishes,

Rowenna Menzies


Sefydliad Graham Menzies Graham Menzies Foundation

Canolfan Adfer Lechyd Cymru Welsh Centre for Recovery


By mail: Preswylfa, Dolypandy, Capel Bangor, Aberystwyth SY23 3LY

By telephone: 01970 881052/07866547751

By e-mail:


Progress Report, October 2007

January 28, 2008

Sefydliad Graham Menzies Graham Menzies Foundation

             Progress Report 2





business-card-imagejpg.jpgMission Statement


To provide best practice, treatment and support services for people who suffer from an eating disorder or associated illness.

To facilitate change, empowerment and social integration.


To treat every individual with respect and dignity; and to promote equality, diversity, hope and freedom. In doing so, to operate to the highest ethical, legal and professional standards.



Organisation aims


ü             Reduce the stigma and isolation experienced by our highly vulnerable client group

ü             Improve local and national policy regarding the treatment of eating disorders and associated illnesses within Wales.

ü            Provide highly individualised, affordable, top quality care for people who live in Wales (or in areas of the country where local services are patchy and under developed) and who suffer from an eating disorder or associated illness.

ü             Provide effective, integrated help and support for young people who suffer from an eating disorder in combination with other maladaptive coping mechanisms (e.g. self injury) or mental health illness.

ü             Facilitate sustained, community based help and support for the family and friends of the above sufferers


October 2007



This is our second progress report. Please feel free to contact Rowenna Menzies for further information or details.




toy moneyAnother busy month… We have applied for grants from the Welsh Language Board (for money towards bi-lingual stationary), the Allen Lane Foundation and to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to support our awareness raising campaign (including events at WAG during Eating Disorders Week next February). Bethan Jenkins (AM) is sponsoring us.

We have not heard back from any of the grant making bodies although the Welsh Language Board did post us an empty envelope!envelope
We are also progressing with a range of partnerships within the field. This is positive because although, individually; our team possesses the skill, passion and knowledge to make our project work, we lack the sustenance of a successful financial history. Making partnerships will add weight to our enterprise and will ensure that we develop relevant, effective services.

With this in mind we placed a partnership bid with Cyswllt (an established street agency) which will enable us to offer treatment for dual diagnosis clients (primarily; substance misuse + eating disorders). Working with Marty from Cyswllt was an absolute pleasure… although I still have to give a presentation to the trustees there (eeek!)


The mail strike was horrible – really stressful. It seems that banks are unable to scan/e-mail/fax information. In fact – Abbey would not even allow us to DRIVE to London and collect information. It is their policy that everything must be POSTED. The delay in mail meant sending some grant applications ‘special delivery’ to arrive on closing day, not my preferable cause of action!

Events & Activities

Cyswllt coordinated an S4C television program about eating disorders; and one of our trustees (Rhodri) was interviewed on the sea front in Aberystwyth. We also organised for a young woman in recovery from an eating disorder to be interviewed by them. (I will let you know when it’s on!)

 Two articles about us were published also in Golwg “Cynllun yn hwb i broblem anorecsia”, hydref 11 2007.

 We met with Caroline Fosse who is currently being trained by bEAT to facilitate a community based self-help group for people with eating disorders. The group will hopefully go active in esrly next year– we will keep you up dated!

 We now have a web address! The site is being planned but a holding page is up.

Visit for a quick peak!

 Interesting happenings

 Some events for those interested in eating disorders:

l      7th /8th November – “Transdiagnostic Cognitive Behaviour Therapy”, University of Reading

l      20th December – “All Wales Special Interest Group” Bronglais Hospital, Brecon (free)

l      Friday 7th December – “Working together, Adolescent Eating Disorders” (free)



As always, thankyou for supporting us with this project. I hope November is a good month for you.


Warmest wishes

Rowenna Menzies

Sefydliad Graham Menzies Graham Menzies Foundation

Canolfan Adfer Lechyd Cymru Welsh Centre for Recovery



By mail: Preswylfa, Dolypandy, Capel Bangor, Aberystwyth SY23 3LY

By telephone: 01970 881052/07866547751

By e-mail:

Progress Report September 2007

January 28, 2008


Sefydliad Graham Menzies; Canalfan Adferiad Cymru

The Graham Menzies Foundation; Welsh Centre for Recovery

Progress Report, September 2007

Dear friend,

Firstly I want to thank you for supporting our fledgling organisation. The Graham Menzies Foundation is a new, innovative, exciting social enterprise based in Wales. We hope to offer top quality, cutting edge treatment and support for people who suffer from eating disorders and related illness.

The Welsh Centre for Recovery is a needs-lead project, devised in collaboration with other Welsh organisations. We aim to provide a highly individualised, fully comprehensive package of care for people who live in West Wales or in areas of the country where local services are patchy and under developed. Our proposed unit will have space for 12 residential patients and 10 day time clients and will facilitate additional aftercare and family support services.

What’s New?


funding image


·        This month Suzanne and I completed a grant application to the Mental Health Matters Program. The awarded funds will facilitate five years salaries (sixteen staff) and 50% unit running costs. Of course, our business plan is structured so that the centre becomes self supporting and self sustaining without the aid of charitable donations; but realistically, it will take several years to develop successful relationships with P.C.T.s and other external referring organisations. The grant would therefore ensure our short term viability.


  • Susanne and I also gave a 30 minute presentation to Technium in the hope of gaining free broad-band enabled office space for 12 months. Whilst the response we received was (in general) positive, they informed us that no offices are currently available. They also gave us both flu. Must remember to send a thankyou note!

·        Rhodri Francis will translate a small grant application form and submit it to Ceredigion County Council this week. The funds (£1000) will go towards bi-lingual pamphlets and stationary.

 What do we need?

Primarily – we now need to focus on small regional start-up grants etc to facilitate our fundraising and cover expenses. We will also be applying for ongoing national grants and schemes to contribute to the costs of our new building. Any ideas or thoughts will be deeply appreciated!

Other developments


§        Many thanks to Andrew Dagnell from Wales Today; for his excellent article addressing the lack of provision for eating disorders across Wales and for publishing our follow-up letter.

§        We have started putting together an 8-page A4 glossy pamphlet to send out to prospective funders and interested organisations. This should be complete by the month end.

§        Suzanne Barrett will be completing a logo for the Centre this week.

§        Apologies for the delay in our web-site; we have purchased a URL address and are still waiting for our initial holding page to be uploaded. I will let you all know as soon as we are on-line!

§        Finally, for those of you who do not already know, we located the perfect building for our residential unit. The property is close to Aberysywyth town (Ceredigion) and exceeds every single point of our criteria.

If you have any questions/details/suggestions or helpful contributions then please feel free to contact me at any time. Again, I appreciate your interest and support. Warmest wishes,

Rowenna Menzies.

treatment for eating disorders DATABASE

January 26, 2008

Calling all eating disorder services in Wales…

Graham Menzies Foundation with the Cross Party E.D. Group and HCW are constructing a comprehensive data base of ALL services that treat E.Ds in Wales.

If you represent, or know of a service; please let us know by e-mailing us or by responding to this post. We are interested in every type of support and every level of care.

Below is the information we will need:

1.Your location within Wales

2.The name of your service/organisation

3.What type of service or support do you offer? 

4.Contact details (such as address, telephone number, e-mail address and web-site)

5.Organisation type (NHS, voluntary sector, religious organisation etc.)

6.Opening times/hours 

7. How do individuals access your service?

8. Any restrictions (such as minimum bmi, age range, gender etc.) 

9. (If relevent) Cost of service?/Is financial help available?

10. Any additional information

 What happens to this information?

It will be passed to Health Commission Wales who will use the information for referral purposes. The data base will be available to the general public and will be published on the Graham Menzies Foundation web site under the “treatment” heading.

It will also be shared with GPs and other health professionals within Wales.

Thankyou for your support 

please call with any questions… 

BBC Wales, 15th Jan 2008

January 26, 2008
Call for eating disorder strategy

Woman on scales (generic)

Severe psychological problems increase the risk of eating disorders

There has been a call for a national strategy to tackle the problem of eating disorders in Wales. It came as AMs were invited to the first meeting of a cross-party committee to examine the issues, set up by South Wales West AM Bethan Jenkins.

Meanwhile, a charity is putting together a £1m lottery bid to set up the first dedicated residential centre in Wales, near Aberystwyth.

There are an estimated 56,000 people in Wales with eating issues.

The National Institute for Eating Disorders also estimates one in five die as a result.

At present, there is no dedicated residential treatment centre in Wales.

While local community provision for sufferers does exist, Ms Jenkins said people who reached a more critical stage of the illness had to go to England for residential care.

Work is underway to provide residential spaces for children and young people with mental health problems, at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend.

Bethan Jenkins AM
When people reach the more serious stage of the illness, there is nowhere to go in Wales
Bethan Jenkins AM

But this is not expected to be ready until 2009 and is not an exclusive unit for those with eating disorders.

Health Minister Edwina Hart said: “I have made this issue a priority and we are working towards enhancing intensive community-based services together with providing dedicated specialist care in a new development in Bridgend.”

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said many mental health conditions were inter-related so there would be a range of health professionals available at the unit who would be able to offer help and support.

Ms Jenkins told BBC Wales: “Many of my constituents have approached me with concerns that they have had to receive private treatment in Bristol or London.

“While community services are available for treatment, when people do reach the more serious stage of the illness, there is nowhere to go in Wales.

“I’m concerned we are pumping millions of pounds into the English health services for treatment we could be providing in Wales.”

The Plaid Cymru AM welcomed Ms Hart’s comments, but believed there was more work to be done.

This includes research into the condition in Wales and looking at preventative measures alongside providing treatment facilities.

“We need a national strategy. I think when we get to the specialised end of the scale there is a significant gap in resources and is something that [Edwina Hart] can work on alongside Health Commission Wales (HCW).”


Someone with personal experience of eating disorders at the first committee meeting is Rowenna Menzies, whose weight dropped to four stone when she was aged 17.

She is director of the Graham Menzies Foundation – named in honour of her late partner – which is hoping to set up a specialist residential unit to treat conditions like anorexia.

“When Graham died almost a year ago I took on the work and set up the foundation. I think the cross-party committee is a great idea,” she said.

The foundation is in the process of applying for a £1m lottery grant.

This would provide half the funding to run a centre for five years and provide 50% of the salaries for 14 members of staff.

If successful, the unit would be based just outside Aberystwyth.

Ms Menzies said Ceredigion had the highest rate per head of population of eating disorders in Wales.


January 26, 2008

The Graham Menzies Foundation was established in memory of Graham Clifford Menzies who died suddenly on 24th January 2007.
Graham was my partner, my best friend, my soulmate.

I hope that the “grief” posts in this blog will provide practical support and helpful links for those who have lost someone they love deeply. The diary entries are more personal and cathartic…

Feel free to contact me here and ask questions if you wish.

I LOVE you Graham!



Interview with Nicholas Bourne AM

January 26, 2008

graham menzies foundation


nich Bourne

Eating Disorders

January 23rd 2008

Interview with Nicholas Bourne, AM, leader of the Opposition

Hi Nick,

You are a founding member of the Welsh Assembly Government’s Cross Party group on Eating Disorders and you are a trustee of the Graham Menzies Foundation…  We’d like to ask you a few questions.

Today’s youth often feel detached and alienated from politics… it’s fantastic that you are campaigning for a health issue that significantly affects young people.
Are you particularly interested in this demographic?

I think politicians do have a responsibility to ensure that younger people are engaged with national politics.  Young people feel passionate about many issues whether on global poverty, the environment or health issues, and it is our responsibility to ensure that younger people are involved in political campaigning,  hopefully on a Party basis, but certainly on issues that they see as important.

Do you know anybody who has been affected by an eating disorder?

I don’t know anybody well who has been affected by an eating disorder, but certainly relatives of friends have been affected and are still affected.

It’s quite unusual to find a man campaigning for an issue which is perceived as largely feminine. Any comment?

 It might be unusual to find a man campaigning for such an issue, though there are quite a few male Assembly Members at our inaugural meeting and although the issue may affect more women than men, it certainly does affect men and I suspect there is under reporting of men with eating disorders, perhaps because of the idea that it somehow affects women exclusively or largely.

What is the situation regarding eating disorders in your constituency?

 I know throughout my constituency that there are people suffering from eating disorders and there is sometimes a problem with access to services because of its rural nature and the fact that it is the furthest area away from England where a lot of services that Welsh people access are based.

Are you self conscious about your own appearance/body image?

 I suppose, like everybody else, I am self conscious about my own appearance and body image, but it is not something that I give a massive amount of thought too.

What’s your favourite meal?

My favourite meal is Roti Canai and Tehtarik, which is Indian bread with meat or vegetables and Indian tea. Literally it means pulled tea because it is sieved and tipped from a great height.

roti canai
Thankyou so much for your time. We appreciate everything you are doing to improve the situation for people who suffer from eating disorders in Wales.

I look forward to continuing to campaign for people who suffer from eating disorders in Wales!
If you would like to ask Nick a question on this issue… please do so here; he will be pleased to hear from you!
Alternatively, visit Nick’s blog at:

Call for strategy on eating disorders

January 26, 2008

Western Mail Article:

Call for strategy on eating disorders

It’s estimated that 56,000 people in Wales have an eating disorder and yet there is no national strategy to tackle the issue and no dedicated treatment centre for sufferers. Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales West, explains why she set up the Assembly’s first cross-party committee on eating disorders

WE LIVE in an age where the pressures of a reality television and celebrity role-model society weigh heavy on us all, not least on those who are most susceptible – young people.

The size-zero phenomenon is something that truly concerns me. As someone still young enough to get away with reading popular magazines aimed at young women, I am truly startled by the recklessness of many as they sit in judgment on those who do not fit their “perfect figure” criteria.

Since being elected as the youngest member of the National Assembly, I was struck by the apparent lack of headway made on the issue of eating disorders. It appears that social perceptions of such illnesses remain a taboo subject for many. But I am in no doubt that the magnitude of the issue is such that the Assembly and Government must act decisively.

To put eating disorders into context, it is estimated that there are around 56,000 sufferers in Wales and, according to the National Institute for Eating Disorders, one in five die as a result of their illness.

The mental health charity Mind says that as many as one woman in 20 will have eating patterns that are cause for concern – most will be aged between 14 and 25.

There is no dedicated residential treatment centre in Wales specifically for sufferers. While I recognise that community provision does exist, those who reach a more critical stage of illness have no option but to seek private care in England. Having said that, work is under way to provide residential spaces for children and young people with mental health problems in Bridgend. But this will not be an exclusive unit for those suffering for eating disorders.

My meetings with sufferers and with stakeholders have led me to the conclusion that we need joined-up thinking and a clear strategy for eating disorders in Wales.

There is no national strategy in Wales on eating disorders at the moment, and in order to rectify this I deemed it appropriate to establish a cross-party committee on eating disorders at the National Assembly. I was delighted that Assembly members from all parties attended, and was pleased with the honest input of Health Minister Edwina Hart.

The committee agreed that a national strategy was needed, and further agreed to compile a declaration of objectives in time for Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which we will launch at the National Assembly on February 27.

This new and exciting project is one that I am truly convinced will make a real difference to the lives of those who suffer from eating disorders, their families and friends.

My eyes were opened to the severity of the situation when I met a constituent who suffered from anorexia. She has been battling the condition for three years, and explained how she felt she would not get the treatment she needed until she was on the verge of death.

A lack of funding meant she had to wait a year before she was offered the specialist treatment she needed outside of Wales – at a private hospital in Bristol.

I am clear that any national strategy will need to tackle this problem on many fronts, not least in reversing current misconceptions – only 1% of young people recently surveyed by charity Beat felt they could talk to their parents about eating disorders.

The challenge we face affects us all. As we take the first tentative steps in addressing this issue in Wales, I am hopeful that we can reach a just outcome for those who need our care and support.

Eating Disorders- support for the cross party group.

January 26, 2008

Letter in the Western Mail:

Eating disorder need

SIR – I welcome the call by Bethan Jenkins to improve the services dedicated to treating eating disorders in Wales (Health Wales, January 21).

Despite over 50,000 people in Wales suffering from such disorders, the limited in-patient service offered in Wales is over-run and community services are limited and stretched to breaking point.

Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. It impacts on the patients’ physical and mental status, and also transforms their lives and that of their family and loved ones.

Unless patients are treated quickly then their obsession with food, exercise and their illogical desire to be thin turns into a live threatening, life-dominating condition.

As a medical student who has suffered from anorexia, I have seen the effects of this condition from both sides. I am only too aware of the dangers of the condition, as well as the illogical thoughts that possesses a sufferers’ mind.

At a time when preventing obesity seems high on the agenda in the UK, let us not forget those at the other end of the spectrum who are underweight, undernourished and suffering in silence as anorexia and bulimia torment and haunt their everyday lives. No family should have to travel over the border to receive treatment for what is an already immensely burdensome condition. I only hope WAG listen to Ms Jenkins’s call and also take note of the silent cries of many eating disorder sufferers across Wales. I only hope that as a practising doctor in six months time I will be able to offer help to my patients close to their homes to overcome their dying desire to diet.


Fifth year medical student, Cardiff University. Pant, Merthyr Tydfil

If you are interested, please join the launch of the eating disorders cross party group campaign on the 27th of February at the National Assembly for Wales.