Pennine Lancashire has been selected to receive more funding as part of a national programme to tackle childhood obesity.
The Government has today (Tuesday, June 25) announced that the area will receive an initial 100k to take its plans forward as part of the Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme. In January, Pennine Lancashire received an initial £10,000 – in a bid led by Blackburn with Darwen Council – to work up some plans that can also be shared across the country.
The area and four others have now been chosen to take theirs forward over three years, receiving £100k per year to do so.
The Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme (COTP) seeks innovative action to tackle childhood obesity at local level. The programme is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and managed by the Local Government Association with support from Public Health England. It is intended to test the limits of existing powers and developing solutions to local obstacles aiming to enable ambitious local action and to achieve change at scale.
The Public Health Minister, Seema Kennedy, visited Blackburn with Darwen to pass on the good news on Thursday, June 20.
She spoke to all the people who have helped shape the ‘Healthy Place, Healthy Future’ local plans and hear about the vision which involves working locally and across the six district councils in Pennine Lancashire with local businesses to provide healthier, affordable food.
It also includes working with 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; working directly with elected members and residents in communities as well as supporting existing and developing social movements that back this drive for healthier food.
Councillor Brian Taylor, Assistant Executive Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Blackburn with Darwen Council, 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.
“This is fantastic news and a real sign of confidence in the plans that we have worked up as part of the initial phase of this programme. To be one of only five areas to receive £100k per year to deliver our plans is a real boost and an exciting opportunity.”
Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
“I’m delighted that the Council has spearheaded this bid that will be fantastic for the whole of Pennine Lancashire. We have a good track record of bringing in funding and this will help transform the way we do things and leave a lasting legacy.”
Local GP, Professor Umesh Chauhan, who is GP cardiovascular lead in Pennine Lancashire said:
“Obesity is the challenge of our lifetime. Any action that we can take to help young people avoid becoming overweight is very welcome and the success of this bid is a major stepping stone to achieving this.
“We know most people who are not overweight are healthier and often happier. I am delighted that the partners of Together a Healthier Future are working hard to address this and this funding is very welcome.”
Public Health Minister Seema Kennedy said:
“These pilots are rightly rooted in the needs of the communities they serve and I look forward to seeing what benefits this grassroots approach has on our nation’s obesity problem.”