Children's health and food

Whole-systems initiative to tackle childhood obesity in Southwark

We're supporting multiple partners in one ward in Southwark to test whole-systems approaches to tackling childhood obesity.

Key partnership information

Partners: Alexandra Rose Charity, Bags of Taste, Burgess Sports, School Food Matters, Sustrans, PACT (Citizen’s UK), The Social Innovation Partnership, Shift

Funding amount: £2.1m

Duration: December 2017 – Summer 2021

Programme: children’s health and food

What we’re doing together

We’re working with a group of local and national organisations to deliver a range of activity in the Faraday ward in Southwark. Together, we are encouraging healthier eating and more physical exercise. The Faraday ward has the highest rates of childhood obesity across Lambeth and Southwark, as well as some of the greatest levels of deprivation.

Within the ward, we will fund activities aimed at closing the ‘obesity inequality gap’ – the difference between the high rates of child obesity in the most deprived areas and lowest rates in wealthier areas. By working in a small geography, we can focus on having a maximum impact on the health challenges facing the local community.

We have extended this partnership because we believe we can have a continuing impact in Faraday. In Lambeth, 95% of families reported eating more fruit and vegetables after receiving Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg. By expanding the partnership, we hope to reach a further 1,900 families.

Childhood obesity in Faraday


The ward has one of the lowest median incomes in the borough at £31,000 per household


Almost a quarter of children under 5 in the ward are an unhealthy weight

3 in 10

In the UK, 3 in 10 children living in the most deprived areas are obese, three times that of less deprived areas

Aims of the partnership

Over this five-year programme, we want to test this layered approach and explore four things:

  • Delivery co-ordination: by bringing project leads together on a regular basis to discuss implementation issues, including themes, lessons and areas of commonality
  • Impact co-ordination: by working with partners to construct an impact monitoring framework. This includes mutual agreement of what to measure, how often, by which means, and how to consider contribution of this to overall impact on childhood obesity
  • Tailoring support: by identifying what further support partners would need for their own organisational resilience, alongside delivery, during the work
  • Our practice as a funder: by using a new funding approach of working in partnership to design activity with delivery partners, including adopting new systems and behaviours

Connection to our strategy

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. Through our work in Faraday, we look to demonstrate the value of layering activities and a whole-systems approach in lowering the high rates of child obesity found in areas of deprivation down to the lower rates seen in wealthier areas.

More about our partners

As well as our work in Faraday, we're working with The Social Innovation Partnership to explore community research models and developing ways to improve school food with School Food Matters.

Community research models Improving school food
Carole Coulon

Have questions about our whole-systems partnership?

Carole Coulon leads our work on the initiative to tackle childhood obesity in Southwark

Contact Carole to find out more