We focus on four complex health issues more prevalent in urban areas
With the Social Progress Imperative, we've developed the first neighbourhood level, health-focused social progress index of its kind.
With Wellcome Trust
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Children's health and food
The outside space around us plays a central role in influencing what we eat. We share how we're working across sectors to address obesogenic streets and what our next steps are through our ‘streets’ strand.
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 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. It’s also 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. We’ve supported them to reformulate products to reduce their calorie content and change the layout and range of choices. All have the aim to nudge people towards 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.
We're partnering and collaborating with food retailers and manufacturers to improve local food retail environments.
Where children grow up is a big predictor of their chances of becoming overweight or obese. We think the strategy can go further to tackle childhood obesity.
With Ascension Ventures, Big Society Capital and Mission Ventures
We're working with local schools to ensure healthy food and physical activity become the norm for all children throughout the day.