A Spotlight On…Case Studies from the Food Active Network: Tameside

A Spotlight On…Case Studies from the Food Active Network: Tameside

Find out about some of the fantastic work going on across the Food Active local authority network members through our new ‘Spotlight On’ case studies feature!

The Food Active North West Network is made up of 16 local authorities across the region, working hard to promote healthy lifestyles and create a health-promoting environment for their local residents – and we want to highlight some of this fantastic work to our wider national following.

As part of a new ‘Spotlight On’ series, every month we will be sharing a range of case studies to highlight some of the fantastic work going on across the network.

To kick things off, we have three interesting case studies from the Children’s Nutrition Team at Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council including their Food4Life Award, Cook4Life Train the Trainer Project and Nutrition and Oral Health Award for Carers of Under Fives

A Spotlight on…Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

These case studies have been written by Becky Paul. Becky is a Senior Nutrition Advisor for the Children’s Nutrition Team, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT. She has been with the team for over 10 years and has experience of healthy eating and health promotion for children and families. 

E: becky.paul@nhs.net

T: 0161 366 3290

Food4Life Schools Award

The Children’s Nutrition Team, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT, developed a project titled Food4Life in schools award.  This was originally piloted in 2013 and rolled out to all schools within the Tameside borough in 2014.  The project is designed to support local schools encourage healthier habits.

An initial consultation with the head teacher and nursery teacher (healthy eating coordinator) took place to discuss where they feel they are currently excelling and also in need of support.  The award criteria was discussed and an action plan put into place. Training to all staff ensured that everyone has the same messages and understands the importance of the award for a whole school approach.

The project was designed to support local schools, both primary and secondary, in making healthier options the norm at an earlier age.  Tameside has high levels of deprivation and high levels of childhood obesity.  The latest data from the 2018/19 National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) suggests in Tameside 23.3% of reception age children (4-5 years) and 36.2% of year 6 children (10-11 years) have been identified as above a healthy weight.

The school food standards became mandatory in 2015 making schools directly responsible for ensuring these standards are being met.   The project aims to support schools and school catering providers with these standards.  This created a whole school approach to healthy eating, not just at lunch times.  The Tameside Food4Life award aims to showcase schools who ensure that healthy eating and lifestyle messages flow throughout the school day.

The award is tiered (bronze, silver and gold) to allow schools to work at a level best for them.

A brief summary of the main criteria points include:

  • Breakfast clubs – ensuring healthy food and drinks are available which are not high in fat, sugar and salt.
  • School dinner – comply with school food standards and offer a balance and variety.
  • Packed lunches – policies are in place to ensure parents/carers know what is expected of packed lunches and support is offered with tips and advice.
  • After school clubs – healthy choices are available where offered.
  • Food as reward – the award provides ideas for non-edible rewards.  E.g. stickers, certificates, pencils, books. This also includes support for parents/carers in relation to birthday treats with non-food alternatives.
  • Education and Promotion – displays and lessons incorporate the message of healthy eating.

This primary school are running their own cooking clubs for pupils and their families.  With the support of the Children’s Nutrition Team they run regular parent engagement sessions to parents and carers. The success of the Food4Life in schools award in Tameside will continue to be promoted to all schools in the area.  The award is continually evaluated by the team and award holders to ensure we are offering the best support possible. The award lasts for two years and then a renewal process takes place to ensure great work continues to take place.

Cook4Life Train the Trainer

The Children’s Nutrition Team, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT relaunched a training course for staff and volunteers in Tameside wanting to set up and run community cooking groups for families in April 2019. Course attendees have included school staff, housing association, health professionals and members of local community groups and has so far trained 22 trainers.

The main aim of the project is to train people within the Tameside community to a high standard with consistent evidence based messages, who can then pass on their learning to community groups with confidence.

This model (train the trainer) enables an increased capacity for more cooking sessions to take place.  More families can be reached, therefore educating and supporting a high number of the Tameside population to cook healthier family meals.

Cook4life Train the Trainer comprises of 5 2 ½ hour sessions (12.5 hours in total).  The course covers the following criteria:

  • How to run a cooking course for children, young people and families.
  • The needs of the local community including lifestyle priorities & struggles.
  • How to be an effective cooking skills trainer.
  • Promoting healthy eating and lifestyles in your setting.
  • Basics of food hygiene and kitchen safety.
  • Interpretation of food labels and misleading advertising.
  • Recipe planning.
  • Cooking simple recipes.
  • Healthy eating on a low income.
Cook4Life Train-the-Trainer sessions

Cook4Life Train-the-Trainer sessions

Each session covers an education topic from the above and also involves a practical cooking element.  Each week the group participants complete a portfolio of evidence to enhance their learning and reflection skills.

The next steps are to fully evaluate the sustainability of the project and measure how many families have benefited from the programme. The team hope to continue to train trainers for the foreseeable future.

Nutrition and Oral Health Award for Carers of the Under 5s

The Nutrition and Oral Health Award for Carers of the Under 5’s has been developed by the Children’s Nutrition and Oral Health Improvement Teams of Tameside and Glossop NHS Foundation Trust and is supported by Tameside Children’s Centres and Early Years Provider Development Team. The aim is to increase the number of childcare providers demonstrating evidence of meeting Tameside’s Food, Nutrition and Oral Health Guidelines (based on School Food Trust Voluntary Food and Drink Guidelines for Early Years Settings in England and National Caroline Walker Trust Guidelines).

This is an award scheme which is aimed at all childcare providers (nurseries, playgroups, childminders and parents and tots groups) who provide healthy meals and/or snacks for children under the age of 5 in Tameside.

A registered childminder from Audenshaw, Tameside attended a training session with the Children’s Nutrition Team and went on to apply for the Nutrition and Oral Health Award for Carers of the Under 5s. The childminder raised concerns about parents bringing unhealthy food items to her setting and also providing her with a list of unsuitable food items which their child prefers such as jam and sugary cereals.  Advice was offered by the team about how to explain to parents why she serves nutritious meals, snacks and drinks.

The childminder wrote a food policy and sent three weeks of menus to the Children’s Nutrition Team.  After analysis of the menus, suggestions were made including more vegetables and protein to ensure a varied and balanced diet.

This childminder’s menus were already quite impressive, homemade lunches were served daily and oily fish such as herring and pilchards were included. The childminder was then sent a checklist to complete where she was able to provide more details of foods and drinks served e.g. breakfast cereal options, the type of milk provided for children under 2 and times that snacks and meals are served.  Information was also provided by the childminder regarding birthday celebrations, oral health education given to children and how physical activity is included within the childcare setting.

The project has been running successfully for a number of years.  The childminder above completed her award in April 2019. She has been added to the list of award holders on Tameside’s Early Years website and she is able to use the award to promote her business.  The award is valid for two years after which time the team will contact her to ensure that she is still meeting the criteria for us to renew her award.

The childminder is going to produce her own leaflet to explain to parents her menu choices and hopefully encourage them to participate in healthy eating at home too.  She was thrilled to receive this award and will display her certificate with pride. The team will be re-evaluating the award to invite more feedback from award holders over the next year.  The aim is to work with more playgroups and parent and tots groups.


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