We partnered on the Healthy High Streets programme, which challenged three areas in Haringey, Lambeth and Southwark to try new ideas to make our high streets healthier.
Through Healthy High Streets, we set out to find and test solutions to how we can make high street food healthier and started conversations with Londoners on how we can make healthier food choices easier for children and young people on the high street. It focused on three highstreets - West Green and High Road in Haringey, Walworth Road and East Street in Southwark, and Clapham Road and near Stockwell Tube station in Lambeth; where the high number of convenience stores have become popular social spaces for young residents.
As a rapid small-scale programme, it aimed to work with local communities and tap into the know-how of businesses using a challenge-prize model in order to:
The programme helped us draw out valuable insights, relating to both businesses and the communities and relevant to those working to make healthy food choices more available on the high street:
Our insights into child obesity identify too many cheap, unhealthy food options as one of the top factors making it hard for children to lead healthy lives in London. We've found that outlets selling fast food have clustered in areas of deprivation, and that the density of fast food and other unhealthy outlets is linked to high levels of child obesity.
Healthy High Streets was run as a challenge prize – a competition offering support with ideas, ‘headspace’ and up to £2,000 to pilot ideas from local businesses and people in the communities of the three selected high streets.
As part of the programme's launch, food businesses on each of the high streets offered specially prepared, healthier meals for one week. These meals were available at a reduced cost for children and young people, and for parents who came in with their children.
We held events in all three areas, which helped develop ideas for new high street solutions; allowing local residents to find out more about the challenge, get inspired by examples of ideas that have worked elsewhere and develop their idea with support from experts, and for us to learn what people thought of the food on their high street.
The programme's winning ideas had the most potential to make a difference, but importantly be long lasting with the potential to spread to other high streets in different London boroughs.
The following winning ideas were given up to £2,000 to test their ideas out for nine weeks, as well as support to help further develop and promote their plans focused on potential for impact and change:
Tasters chicken shop is a regular London chicken shop on West Green Road; they developed a new, healthier menu for children, and tested how best to promote this new menu to their customers.
Oasis Play is a local youth charity in Stockwell that worked with young people to develop a healthier menu for young people in partnership with a local café (Leila’s Corner Café). Young people helped promote the new menu to their friends, as well as encourage other local food businesses to make healthy options available.
Five ideas from local entrepreneurs that all had potential, but that were not quite ready to test, were supported through the programme. We provided these with additional support through a flexible six-month incubator programme that combined direct support, group work, coaching, partnership brokering and specialist advice sessions; supporting initiatives from local food entrepreneurs, cooking clubs and recipe exchanging groups. Find out more about what we learned in this blog post.
“It's very important we give young people meaningful and challenging opportunities to make a positive contribution to their local community ... The Challenge will allow young people to be at the centre of a local initiative. The fact young people will be an active part of this campaign is already a success.”
David Ogwe, Oasis Play Volunteer Coordinator
The Healthy High Streets Challenge is part of the Streets strand of our work tackling child obesity in urban, diverse and deprived areas. Our aim working in the street environment is to create spaces where children and young people find it easier to eat well and exercise more, and this project has helped us understand how to encourage commercial partners to play their part.
"Research shows that the high street environment can have a big influence on the diets of children and their families. Through this programme, we’ve learned a lot about what works for local businesses to be part of solutions. We're using this learning to design longer-term activities."
Jessica Attard, Programme Manager, Guy's and St Thomas' Charity
05 September, 2019
A pioneering collaboration with UK retailers and manufacturers to support people in Lambeth and Southwark to move to healthier shopping baskets.
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.
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.