Who: Alexandra Rose Charity, Bags of Taste, Burgess Sports, School Food Matters, Sustrans
Start date: December 2017
End date: November 2019
Amount awarded: £454,067
Supported through: Child 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 deprivation 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 two-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.
Bags of Taste aims to motivate parents to cook healthy food on a budget. They are running courses in the ward to teach basic cooking skills and apply them to low-cost and healthy (high nutrient, low fat and sugar) versions of traditional meals from a range of cultures.
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 shows that 78% primary school children would like to travel actively to school. Despite this, only 1-2% currently cycle to school. At the same time, 42% of children are getting less than half of their recommended 60 minute of physical activity per day. Sustrans is working to make cycling more accessible in Faraday through awareness, empowerment and action.
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 also 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 Faraday, we look to demonstrate the value of layering activities in reducing the ‘obesity deprivation gap’ in deprived areas.
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.
The partners in the scheme are currently developing measurable goals and how they’ll evaluate the combined impact that their work has on reducing local child obesity.
Through the scheme, Alexandra Rose Charity aims to support around 250 local families over the next two years through its Rose Vouchers for Fruit and Veg. Meanwhile, Sustrans plans to engage 2,500 young people and 500 parents in its cycling and walking activities and decrease by 10% the number of students who don’t ride bikes; and School Food Matters will look to bring better food environments to up to 1,000 children across three schools in the ward.
Programme Manager: Gabrielle Allen
29 October, 2018
A report looking at opportunities for market-based solutions to childhood obesity, focusing on the growing number of ‘challenger brands’ and products and how they can address the unmet need for healthy, affordable food options for families on low incomes.
19 October, 2018
A programme involving local businesses in solutions to child obesity.
17 October, 2018
Working with schools to improve their food environment, tailoring the national Food for Life framework to meet local need and help tackle child obesity.