Children's health and food

Co-creating healthier food spaces in Lambeth

We're engaging with the local community to co-create healthier food spaces for families in Waterloo, Lambeth.

Key partnership information

Partner: Oasis Hub Waterloo

Funding amount: up to £1.4 million (including £505,000 from Battersea Power Station Foundation)

Duration: March 2020 – March 2024

Programme: Children’s health and food


What we’re doing together

We’re scaling up our partnership with Oasis Hub Waterloo 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. In the pilot, we tested several health initiatives across two local Oasis schools. Designed with the school communities, local businesses and local families, the initiatives aimed to find sustainable ways to improve school food and increase spaces available to run and play.

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.

In response to COVID-19, Oasis’s work, like many others, pivoted to respond to the crisis. We supported their work to provide for children in Lambeth over the summer.

COVID-19 response with Oasis Hub Waterloo


healthy meals given to families in the area


families supported over the summer


outdoors sports sessions arranged

Work streams

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:

  • Building a community-led social movement around the local area being protective of children’s health
  • Youth-led activism to change the high street food options
  • Supporting community-led action and ideas through offering small amounts of funding for community-led change
  • Encouraging businesses to become breastfeeding friendly

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:

  • Healthier breaktime snacks and after-school options
  • Working with the kitchen teams/caterer to serve healthier meals
  • Promoting physical activity through active art and active play zones

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:

  • Stalls that provide affordable fruit and vegetable
  • New community kitchen providing healthy affordable meals
  • Hosting or setting up a new healthier takeaway business serving the local area

For the community, healthy eating and keeping active has started to be just about normal life rather than a special initiative that is coming in.

Oasis Children and Family Development Worker

Aims of the partnership

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:

  • Unhealthy food is less available in local school, street and home environments throughout the week
  • Food is being served in the correct portion size in schools and local restaurants
  • Children are eating fewer excess calories throughout the day
  • Children are more physically active in school and street environments

Connection to our strategy

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.

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.

About Oasis Hub Waterloo

Oasis Hub Waterloo is a charity working to support children, young people and others across Lambeth and Southwark

Visit the Oasis Hub Waterloo site