Work commences on Childhood Obesity Trailblazer for two North West local authorities

Work commences on Childhood Obesity Trailblazer for two North West local authorities

As part of the Childhood Obesity Plan: Chapter 2, the Government announced last year a three-year Trailblazer Programme to work with council-led projects in England help develop local solutions for tackling obesity, with a particular focus on health inequalities.

Key aims of the programme include:

  • testing the limits of existing powers through innovative and determined action to tackle childhood obesity;
  • shared learning and best practice to encourage wider local action;
  • developing solutions to local obstacles and consider further actions government can take to enable ambitious local action and achieve change at scale.

Councils across England showed significant interest in the Trailblazer Programme, with 102 Expressions of Interest submitted between October and November 2018. 13 councils have been selected to undertake the funded 12-week discovery phase, with the kick off event being held in Central London on Friday 15th February with representatives from all successful councils.

Congratulations to two North West local authorities, Rochdale Borough Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council, on standing out and making the shortlist for the discovery phase of the programme. Both local authorities have developed two innovative and exciting proposals to tackle the drivers of childhood obesity in their areas, and we are looking forward to supporting both projects in due course.

Below are some further details about these trailblazers from the Project Leads, Beth Wolfenden and Elizabeth Wilson.

 Beth Wolfenden, Public Health Development Manager, Blackburn with Darwen Council:

“Blackburn with Darwen Council are delighted to be able to lead the discovery phase of the Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme on behalf of Pennine Lancashire Integrated health and Care Partnership.  We are aiming to engage a wide variety of stakeholders including elected members, A3 and A5 businesses, children and families to really understand the issues across Pennine Lancashire which contribute to childhood obesity.  Pennine Lancashire has a diverse population with some pockets of high deprivation coupled with a high ratio of A5 outlets and high childhood obesity levels and we want to understand what is driving this phenomenon. One of the key aims of our proposal is to develop political support to align planning policy for A5 and A3 establishments across the six districts and the challenge this presents a significant challenge in itself.  From the consultation and engagement we are aiming to develop a programme of support to existing businesses and to families in our most deprived areas which is driven by young people.”

Elizabeth Wilson, Public Health Specialist, Rochdale Borough Council:

“Rochdale Borough Council are pleased to have been selected as one of 13 councils for the discovery phase of the LGA’s Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme. Here in Rochdale, we have higher than average overweight and obesity rates in reception and year 6 children. We recognise that obesity is caused by a multitude of different social, environmental and economic factors – hence why our proposal attempts to explore several different levers to help tackle these complex issues. One of our key aims is to improve the food environment in Rochdale, by looking at how we can engage with the out of home sector to support healthier food provision and exploring public protection, environmental health and licencing levers to help prohibit the proliferation of fast food outlets. As a starting point, we will be kicking off the proposal by expanding the childhood obesity action group to develop the application, and will be consulting with businesses on their food provision and where they feel this could be improved.”

After the 12-week discovery phase comes to a close, an application for the implementation phase will then need to be submitted in late April, which will include findings of the discovery phase, full project plan, breakdown of funding and finally endorsement from senior level leadership. The best five applications from councils will then be awarded funding for three years, trailblazer authorities will develop, deliver, review and expand their plans. Each trailblazer authority will receive £100,000 worth of funding and project support each year to progress their project. This will include government expert support, subject matter expertise, support from the Delivery Support Partner, FutureGov.

Further detail of the other 11 proposals from councils have been released by the LGA and can be viewed at the following link:

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