Pennine Lancashire has been selected to receive funding as part of a national programme to tackle childhood obesity.
Blackburn with Darwen Council led on a bid that will see an initial £10,000 coming in from the Government’s Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme.
The programme seeks innovative action to tackle childhood obesity at local level. It is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and managed by the Local Government Association. It is intended to test the limits of existing powers and develop solutions to local obstacles in order to enable ambitious local action and achieve change.
The Council and its partners in the Together a Healthier Future programme, will use the money to develop innovative plans to reduce childhood obesity that can also be shared across the country.
The focus locally will be improving access to healthier choices for children and families. Currently, the lack of diversity across local high streets and shop parades in some of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, means that unhealthy food and drink is often the default for children and families.
102 local authorities applied to take part in the initial discovery phase of the programme with the Pennine Lancashire bid just one of 13 successful applications.
After all of the authorities have submitted their initial plans, five will be chosen to take theirs forward over three years, receiving £100k per year to do so.
Councillor Brian Taylor, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
“The health of Children and Young People is a leading priority both for us as a Council and across the Integrated Pennine Lancashire Health and Care Partnership. We have a strategy and work ongoing but the increased availability of high sugar and high fat products targeted at children is a growing challenge.
With this money we will be able to work up some really innovative plans and get out into communities and get an understanding from children, young people and families whether they feel that obesity is an issue in their community and why; engage with local businesses and working with the six planning authorities to drive a consistent policy for effective control of fast food outlets, advertising of junk food and the availability of affordable nutritious food”.