Jessica Attard, Portfolio Manager, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
Sep 30, 2019
The way we understand them at the Charity, our ‘streets’ are all around us. They’re the routes our children walk to school and the green spaces in which they play and they offer opportunities for active travel. They encompass food businesses, advertising and public space.
As soon as families step outside their front door, they’re bombarded with messages to eat more and move less. This obesogenic environment has intensified in recent years and is amplified in inner-city areas. Homes and schools can do their bit to provide healthier options, so in our programme’s third strand, we have a focus on the street environment.
Over the past three years, we’ve funded over £2 million worth of initiatives to make the streets in Lambeth and Southwark healthier. As part of our whole-systems approach, we work with a broad network of committed partners.
For example, we've been working with food businesses, including some of the UK’s top retailers and manufacturers, to improve their environments by providing healthier, affordable and convenient options; reformulating products to reduce their calorie content and changing the layout and range of choices to nudge people towards more healthier options.
My colleague Matt Towner is in the early stages of supporting healthier challenger brands – mostly food start-ups which can disrupt the current offer – to reach the market. He's also exploring new business models that help families to access healthier meals. Meanwhile, we’ve begun funding work to improve infrastructure for active travel and create green spaces for teenagers.
There are a few key learnings that have informed our thinking at the Charity:
We've got a lot more work to do to reduce childhood obesity in our boroughs. Going forward, we’ll be:
It’s an exciting time at the Charity, particularly in my role leading the streets strand as I begin to see our projects deliver real impact. I’m positive about the future of our streets and believe it is possible to change the rules under which they currently operate, for the better.
We’ll be sharing what we see and learn about what works and what doesn’t. To keep up-to-date on our progress, sign up to our newsletter today.
Portfolio Manager: Jessica Attard
30 June, 2020
Our Programme Director, Sarah Hickey, shares how we’re collaborating with the commercial sector to tackle the inequality that prevents children from accessing nutritious food.