Funding for councils to develop local solutions to childhood obesity

13 local authorities will receive funding and support to develop innovative plans to reduce childhood obesity that can be shared across the country

Four children running in a park

The local authorities will receive £10,000 in funding as well as targeted support to develop practical plans.

In spring next year, 5 successful authorities will be selected to take their plans forward over 3 years. During that time they will be given expert advice to help realise their plans and £100,000 a year in funding to support this.

The 13 local authorities are:

• Bath and North East Somerset Council
• Birmingham City Council
• Blackburn with Darwen Council
• City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
• London Borough of Havering
• London Borough of Lewisham
• Middlesbrough Council
• North Tyneside Council
• North Yorkshire County Council
• Nottinghamshire County Council
• Peterborough City Council
• Rochdale Borough Council
• Walsall Council

The work is part of the government’s Trailblazer programme, in partnership with the Local Government Association (LGA) supported by Public Health England. The programme will focus on inequalities and work closely with local authorities to:

• test the limits of existing powers through innovative and determined action to tackle childhood obesity
• share learning and best practice to encourage wider local action
• develop solutions to local obstacles
• consider further actions that government can take to support local action and achieve large-scale changes

The 3-year programme forms part of the second chapter of the government’s childhood obesity plan, launched in the summer.

This included the aim to halve childhood obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030. One in 3 children leaves primary school overweight or obese and children from the most deprived areas are more than twice as likely to be obese.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said:

"We know that when it comes to improving the health of local communities, local leaders are the real experts. We need innovation, ambition and passion to tackle childhood obesity, particularly in deprived areas, where children are more than twice as likely to be an unhealthy weight.

"Our Trailblazer programme will support the 13 councils to bring their ideas to life with the help of dedicated support and guidance. They have the potential to not only improve the health of children in their own communities but across the country by helping us to shape future policy on childhood obesity.

"Brilliant, innovative projects are already taking place across the country, but now is the time for us to tackle this issue together."

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:

"This 3-year trailblazer programme, managed by the LGA and funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, will see councils take the lead in developing new and innovative projects to tackle this epidemic at a local level, making a real difference in their communities.

"No child should be at a disadvantage in life because of where they are from and this programme aims to support councils to reduce this gap, with a view to preventing children from becoming obese in the first place and able to live healthy and fulfilling lives."

A priority of the Trailblazer programme is to share learning with other local authorities. Local authorities will be able to join the Trailblazer Learning Network to access the latest learning and support materials and be notified of opportunities to engage.

More information about the Child Obesity Trailblazer Programme is on the LGA website.