A new charity-funded project will deliver nutrition and hydration support to thousands of people in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and affected by addiction.

Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Health Improvement Nutrition & Dietetic team will deliver training to at least 65 staff at Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Service (DDAS) who will be empowered support their service users to achieve a healthier diet.

The project has been made possible by over £44,000 of grant funding from NHS Charities Together, a national charity working with NHS charities across the UK including Hywel Dda Health Charities – the official charity of Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Two new part-time staff members have been appointed by the Health Board to provide training and support to DDAS staff during the delivery of the programme which ends in September 2024.

Project lead Laura Thomas, Clinical Lead Health Improvement Dietitian at Hywel Dda, said: “People with substance use disorders are at greater risk of inadequate nutrition and hydration due to eating too little or eating foods of low nutritional value. This has serious implications for their health long-term.

“The aim of the programme is to build and enhance the knowledge of DDAS’s key workers around nutrition and hydration. It will give them the skills they need to support service users to improve their eating habits and their health.”

Steffan Warren, Team Leader at DDAS, said: “We are the first point of contact for any adult over the age of 18 with a drug or alcohol problem in the area.

“The programme will enable DDAS staff to fully benefit from the expertise of the Health Board’s Nutrition and Dietetics team, giving us the opportunity to develop nutrition champions who can signpost service users to sources of support and create helpful resources.

“We are hoping to support at least 3,000 service users.”

Nicola Llewelyn, Head of Hywel Dda Health Charities, said: “NHS charities provide funding for services and activities above and beyond what the NHS can normally provide.

“We are delighted to have been able to support this important project which will bring so many benefits to people across the region.”