A RAMSBOTTOM woman who has established a weight loss and healthy eating group with a difference is calling on people to get involved.

Samantha Marshall, of Falstone Avenue, is running a free class at the Hare and Hounds in Bolton Road West in Holcombe Brook every Monday.

Instead of paying a joining fee or weekly fee, participants are instead encouraged to use the money they would have spent to buy fruit and vegetables.

The classes are designed to highlight the health benefits of cooking from scratch with fresh ingredients, and also include a weigh-in to help people shed the pounds.

Ms Marshall, who works as a financial inclusion officer for social housing provider Bolton at Home, says she was influenced to set up the group as a result of her job, which involves helping people make the most out of their money.

She said: “I started this group because I find it very rewarding helping people with my main job.

“I wanted to do something that could help and motivate people in my own local area.

“I can bring other qualities to the group, like how to cook and shop on a budget.

“In addition, because there is no charge for the group, it means that people can buy extra fruit or vegetables, or take an exercise class or save for something special when they reach their goals.”

She believes the weight-loss industry is exploitative, and with obesity on the increase, hopes to make an impact with her new weight-loss group.

Ms Marshall said: “It relies on the fact that people are sometimes desperate and don’t have enough self-motivation to lose weight. Therefore, the industry can ‘charge’ for advice or providing healthy eating plans.”

She said one woman lost eight pounds within a week of joining, just by sticking to a clean eating regime. The group meets from 6.30pm to7.30pm and takes place in a private room in the pub. For more information, call Ms Marshall on 0785 4551442.