THREE Weight Watchers group leaders who joined forces to provide struggling families with food this new year are celebrating after more than 200 members contributed.

Members from Weight Watchers groups across Gwent decided to launch a campaign to clear out their cupboards for a good cause with excess food going directly to food banks in the areas including Blackwood, Caerphilly and Risca, to help families in crisis.

This comes as many new members will be looking for a fresh start this new year, so Louise Jones, group leader for Ystrad Mynach, New Tredegar and Pontypridd, has launched the appeal to get members giving away food they no longer need to help them re-gain control.

The Caerphilly council and children’s centre worker teamed up with leaders Sue Worsfold of Newbridge, Cefn Forest, Pontllanfraith and Cardiff groups, as well as leader Pat Morgan, who also runs groups in the surrounding area, including Ystrad Mynach, Blackwood and Caerphilly, to get as many members as possible on board with the project.

This week the group donated more than 500 items of food, worth more than £500 in the past month to the Risca food bank.

The Risca food bank opened in 2012 and has helped 1,324 people to date.

Miss Jones is delighted at the sheer amount of members coming together to contribute: “The members have been fantastic. Initially they thought that it was Weight Watchers food that they had to donate, but once I explained what it was we were doing, people have been fantastic.

“Many members have been bringing in multiple items. The spirit has really caught on- some members have asked me if it was just for January and if we can continue throughout the year.

“So I have said that as long as members are happy to keep donating it can be a long term scheme, and I can donate to the food banks once a month.”

This week the three leaders will donate their collaborative takings to food banks including those in Pontllanfraith and Caerphilly to help struggling families in crisis.

Miss Jones added: “After Christmas a lot of families are hard up money wise and so it is great that we can help.

“The giving members have not only donated approximately £500 worth of food items but have also been busy losing lbs by following the Weight Watchers plan.

“The Weight Watchers members attend local Weight Watchers meetings and have lost a grand total of 3,952 pounds / 282 stone through January.”