Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco came together to form the National Charity Partnership to inspire millions of people to eat better, get active and reduce their risk of developing obesity and diabetes. The partnership aim was to raise funds for the two charities as well as to deliver programmes across the UK that support people to live healthier lifestyles.

The partnership research identified mothers of young children as the key target of its intervention, and cooking and exercise as the activities that would support behaviour change. The partnership chose Food Academy to pilot the feasibility of this intervention. Food Academy was able to run the pilot successfully and the programme was adopted nationally. Food Academy was commissioned to deliver 400 holiday lunch clubs in Newham in 2016 and 2017. 

The Holiday Lunch Clubs provided a platform to motivate and incentivise participants to make small and sustainable behavioural changes and achieve a healthier lifestyle. The focus was on eating more healthily and becoming more physically active by making simple, practical and cost-effective lifestyle changes. The partnership with Food Academy allowed these ideas to turn into practice in East London and together we were able to deliver the largest public health prevention programme in Newham.

The Diabetes UK, BHF and Tesco partnership provided the intervention framework, strategy and outcomes while Food Academy had full autonomy for operational delivery.  

By assuming all operational responsibility (coordinating with all other delivery partners), we were able to simplify the work of our Diabetes UK, BHF and Tesco partners.This arrangement worked very well and the programme reached more than 600 mothers and more than 1200 children, with attendance and interest not seen in other similar programmes. 

This partnership allowed all of us to achieve outcomes that we would not have been able to do on our own.  National organisations learnt the complexity and benefits of delivering their interventions at local level. Diabetes UK, BHF and Tesco staff visited the programme regularly and benefitted from discussions with participants. We delivered bhangra and cooking workshops to their staff, allowing them to better understand the nature of our intervention. We were able to experiment with different delivery models and learnt the importance of incorporating fun physical activities to increase the effectiveness of our behaviour change interventions. We also tested our ability to deliver efficient, timely, large-scale and complex programmes, with up to 120 participants a day!

Councillor Ken Clark said: “The whole aim of our community neighbourhood teams is to bring people together and this is a prime example of just how we do that. An essential part of staying healthy is knowing how to keep fit and I was delighted to see that activeNewham has worked closely with the Food Academy to show parents and children just how much fun staying fit can be.”





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