Who: Alexandra Rose Charity, Bags of Taste, Burgess Sports, School Food Matters, Sustrans, PACT (Citizen's UK), The Social Innovation Partnership, Shift
Start date: December 2017
End date: Summer 2021
Amount awarded: £2.1m
Supported through: Childhood obesity programme
Our Neighbourhood Schemes focus on driving change within a small geography, testing whole-system solutions to health challenges facing the local communities.
The Faraday Neighbourhood Scheme is testing a whole-systems approach to tackling child obesity within the boundaries of one ward. We are exploring how a combination of activities that address the problem from different angles may help us close the ‘obesity inequality gap’ - the difference between the high rates of child obesity in the most deprived areas and lowest rates in wealthier areas.
We’re working with a group of local and national organisations to deliver a range of activity in the neighbourhood. Together, we are encouraging healthier eating and more physical exercise. The Faraday ward, in Southwark, has the highest rates of childhood obesity across our boroughs, as well as some of the greatest levels of deprivation.
We’re working with an initial five organisations, supporting them to deliver activity around Faraday, and creating a cohort of partners who we can work with to increase impact on childhood obesity.
The projects under the scheme tackle child obesity through activities that focus on eating and physical activity, making a difference in three environments where children spend their time: home, school and street.
Over this five-year programme, we want to test this layered approach and explore four things:
Each of the five partners are bringing their own expertise and solutions to Faraday:
Alexandra Rose Charity believes that enabling people to access fresh fruit and veg is vital to tackle childhood obesity. With calories from unhealthy food being three times cheaper than from healthy food, its Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg scheme is supporting families with young children on a low income to buy fruit and veg in local markets so they can get a healthy start in life.
Through its local sports camps, Burgess Sports is getting more young people to do exercise as well as helping them develop social, cognitive and leadership skills and become ambassadors for physical activity.
School Food Matters knows that children spend 190 days a year at school and eat at least one meal in school on each of those days. Through its project 'Healthy Zones', the organisation is working to influence local children’s attitude to food, their eating habits and food choices by helping schools develop a good food culture.
Research from Sustrans showed that 78% primary school children would like to travel actively to school. Despite this, only 1-2% currently cycle to school. In the initial phase of the scheme, Sustrans worked to make cycling more accessible through awareness, empowerment and action.
Bags of Taste worked to motivate parents to cook healthy food on a budget, running courses to teach basic cooking skills and creating low-cost and healthy versions of traditional meals from a range of cultures.
Part of Citizen’s UK, the Parents and Communities Together (PACT) social support project joined the scheme in Spring 2019. PACT is piloting ‘Cook, Eat and Take Away’ – a weekly community cooking club where parents come together to cook and eat healthy food, take a meal home to their family and store the rest for later in community freezers.
Since Spring 2019, The Social Innovation Partnership and Shift are developing a framework to measure the collective impact of the mix of different activities in the scheme. This includes how the joint work is leading to calorie substitution in children’s diets and a reduction in children’s weight.
Childhood obesity is a complex issue impacted by many factors. Evidence shows that no single intervention can halt the problem, and that the solution lies in whole-systems approaches. Examples such as Amsterdam's - which has reduced rates of child obesity in the city through a mix of public and private initiatives - point to the power of working across sectors and layering different solutions.
Faraday has some of the highest rates of child obesity in the UK, with nearly 23% of children under five living with an unhealthy weight. It sits right in the centre of what we call our boroughs’ ‘obesity corridor’.
The ward has one of the lowest income per household in our boroughs, with a median of just under £31,000 per year. There is a strong correlation between levels of poverty and obesity in the UK, with 3 in 10 children living in the most deprived areas being obese compared to only 1 in 10 in other areas.
Through our work in the Faraday Neighbourhood Scheme, we look to demonstrate the value of layering activities and a whole-systems approach in lowering the high rates of child obesity found in areas of deprivation down to the lower rates seen in wealthier areas.
Sustrans and Bags of Taste were part of the scheme until Spring 2019 and are still bringing their services to families in the area.
The Faraday Neighbourhood Scheme looks to test the value of combining different activities from across sectors, or a whole-system approach, in addressing the complex issue of childhood obesity. By concentrating on a small geography, we look to demonstrate ‘proof of concept’ and how the approach could be scaled up.
So far, the scheme has reached 440 families and nearly 1,600 children.
Around 400 children have gone to multisport holiday camps run by Burgess Sports and School Food Matters has been working with local schools to make positive changes to their food environments, with the ultimate goal of improving food environments for up to 1,000 children.
In addition, 180 families have joined Alexandra Rose Charity's Fruit and Veg Vouchers project, with over 9,000 vouchers redeemed for free fruit and vegetables at 11 traders on East Street Market. With additional funding from Spring 2019, Alexandra Rose Charity is now looking to expand its support to around 1,900 more local families.
Supported by The Social Innovation Partnership and Shift Design, we are developing a framework to help us measure the combined impact of all our activities in the scheme. We expect to have results from the first two years of the scheme in early 2020.