Who: Oasis Hub Waterloo
Start date: March 2020 (following pilot April 2018 - February 2020)
End date: March 2024
Amount: up to £1.4 million (including £505,000 from Battersea Power Station Foundation)
Supported through: childhood obesity programme
We’re scaling up our partnership with Oasis Hub Waterloo to deliver a series of projects aiming to reshape the neighbourhood to make eating well and being active easier for families.
It follows an initial two-year pilot project, launched in April 2018, which tested several health initiatives across two local Oasis schools. Designed with the school communities, local businesses, and local families, the projects aimed to find sustainable ways to improve school food and increase spaces available to run and play.
These ranged from introducing fresh fruit and vegetable stalls to the provision of healthier snacks at breaktime. The pilot also involved mentoring for overweight children to help them deal with environmental triggers that influence unhealthy eating. This showed the difference that can be made when the healthiest option is the easiest and most attractive one. For example, selling fruit and veg at wholesale price at the school gates incentivised parents to buy more fresh produce, and active art classes made the playground a space all children could enjoy, not just an area for team sports. Likewise, healthier options such as porridge and fruit were made available with no cost for all children at break time.
Lessons from these projects were learnt quickly, allowing us to scale successful activities and adapt ones that faced challenges. The popularity of projects such as the fruit and vegetable stall and healthier breakfast snacks demonstrates the community is open to healthier options when they’re made more easily available.
Building on the successes and learnings from the pilot, the new multi-year scheme is extending activity beyond these two schools to involve the wider community and neighbourhood. By working in partnership with local businesses and families as well as schools, we’re aiming to take a whole-systems approach in our place and have a long-term impact on young people’s health.
We hope that, if impactful, these new projects and approaches can be scaled and replicated across Oasis’ national chain of community hubs and academies, as well as in other cities across the UK looking to tackle childhood obesity.
The new multi-year scheme is extending activity beyond these two schools to involve the wider community and neighbourhood, working in partnership with local businesses and families as well as schools to have a long-term impact on young people’s health.
April 2018 - February 2020
Co-designed projects tested at two Oasis schools, ranging from virtual cooking clubs to art-inspired prompts that encourage physical activity. Lessons from the pilot shared and iterations of successful projects proposed for the multi-year scheme.
December 2019 - March 2020
Project is set up, including the expansion of the Oasis Hub team and specialist partners.
March - July 2020
Project continues to engage key schools and Purpose begins their work. Our evaluation partner is recruited and plans for evaluation confirmed.
July 2020 - March 2022
Project initiatives operating across the range of local community settings. Interim evaluation of insights completed to inform the longer-term activities.
March 2022 - March 2024
Oasis Hub Waterloo scales the model to other hubs in the UK located in areas with high rates of childhood obesity. Lambeth project continues, building on the success of initiatives so far. As activity winds down in March 2024, final evaluation outputs are published to share learnings.
The multi-year scheme will build on the proven, impactful initiatives in the schools from the pilot and test out new methods of engagement in order to reach more pupils and parents. For example, the fruit and vegetable stall has now become a fixture after school and is looking to expand into the local market. Likewise, the school fringe enrichment programme – a series of lessons exploring local food offers and how children can champion healthier options – will now become a fixed part of the Year 7 timetable.
Co-creation with the local community is key to the scheme’s expansion and will inform the new activities that we launch with Oasis Hub Waterloo. Facilitated by Purpose – a social change organisation – we’ll be testing an innovative methodology based on ‘co-creation sprints’. These are interactive sessions used to address key questions around a certain idea through designing and testing concepts. The 'sprints' will be used to generate and test ideas for the scheme and draw on the experiences of local young people and parents to understand the social and environmental pressures that determine what they eat. These insights are going to be fed into the design and delivery of each project to bring about change in key spaces where food in consumed, and where the community spends their time.
Oasis Hub Waterloo will tackle the problem of unhealthy local areas through three complimentary streams of work:
Community-centred development – engaging families, young people and the wider community to make their neighbourhood healthier. Example projects include:
Creating outstanding healthy school environments – through a range of activities that will promote healthier eating and more opportunities to run and play, reaching around 1,000 local children. Example initiatives include:
Promoting healthier, affordable, tasty food to the local community – through new healthier food ventures, reaching local children and families that might not be part of the school community. Example activities include:
Insights from behavioural sciences show that our eating and physical activity behaviours are heavily influenced by our environment. An unhealthy diet is the biggest predictor of obesity.
Lambeth and Southwark have some of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the country. Local areas with the highest obesity rates correlate with numbers of families surviving on a low income.
Within the footprint of the Oasis Waterloo Hub, around 17% children in reception and 39% in year 6 have excess weight (this equates to around 5 to 12 pupils per school year in Oasis Johanna primary school in each year group). Assuming rates remain at least stable throughout secondary school, a further 47 students are likely to have excess weight in Oasis Academy Southbank in any given school year.
Schemes like Healthspace are testing how changing environments can help remove barriers to people leading healthier lives through cumulative small shifts – designed with those who use them. Oasis is an effective partner for this expansion thanks to its unique set-up as an integrated hub and relationships with the local population and businesses. They also have a strong social mission to improve the lives of young people.
Families who live in urban areas with high levels of deprivation are exposed more often and intensely to many of the drivers of childhood obesity – including high prevalence of advertising and density of food outlets.
Schemes like Healthspace are testing how changing environments through small shifts designed with those who use them can help people to lead healthier lives.
Oasis Hub Waterloo, a community charity, offers a unique opportunity to engage a large community of young people and families. Its multiple sites and well-established network across Lambeth and Southwark provide a prime footprint to test community-led solutions to tackle childhood obesity.
To help maximise our impact, we’re also teaming up with Purpose whose expertise in youth engagement and campaigning will help us tap into local knowledge and foster active engagement in and co-creation of the projects.
We will be working with an external evaluator to understand the impact of this work at scale in North Lambeth.
Some high-level indicators of success are likely to be:
Portfolio Manager: Becka Sunter