Healthy Zones is a new programme in partnership with Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity looking at childhood obesity.
Focusing on the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, where obesity rates are among the highest in the country, Healthy Zones specifically targets the Faraday ward of Southwark over a two year period. We have been working closely with three schools - two primary schools and one secondary school - to help them to develop a good food culture and become Healthy Zones.
Year One of the project began with a fact-finding visit to the school, where we worked with heads, teachers, caterers, children and their families to help us understand how the school’s delivery, and the children’s experience, of food at school affects their eating habits. We visited the school dining rooms to deepen our understanding of a child's experience of school meals and conducted in-depth group sessions with children at each school.
Our resident gardener Cath Baynton and food teacher Michaela Bowles led teachers through tailored gardening and cooking sessions to help increase their skills and confidence.
We also took our Young Marketeers programme to Faraday. Students learnt how to grow veg from seed and how to cook with their home-grown produce. To further extend the food culture of the school, we invited parents to join their children for a cooking session. The Young Marketeers programme culminated in July with a Market Day at East Street Market where children from our three schools celebrated their hard work, shared stories with their local community and raised some money for their schools’ food education programmes by selling their fresh veg.
In Year Two, after consultation with the schools, we are broadening the programme to run more sessions for parents and pupils. Parents will be able to get involved with both the school cooking and school food growing activities. We are also going to work with a group of young people to see if we can find alternatives to the takeaway culture that is so strong in London now.
Healthy Zones is part of a wider ten year programme delivered by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity and its partners taking a whole system, cross sector approach that focuses on creating environments that support and encourage healthy eating and everyday activity in places where children of all ages spend their time; home, school, high streets and green spaces.
As part of the Faraday Neighbourhood programme, Alexandra Rose Charity launched its Rose Vouchers for Fruit & Veg scheme at East Street Market for families with young children on a low income to help them get a healthy start in life.
Blog piece - Creating a good food culture at school