Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme

This three year programme asks councils to lead innovative action in their local community to tackle childhood obesity. Thirteen councils have been selected for the discovery phase.

More than one in five children are already overweight or obese on entering Reception. This rises to one in three in Year 6. There is a ‘deprivation gap’ with children from the most deprived areas more than twice as likely to be obese and more than four times as likely to be severely obese than children from the least deprived areas.

The Government published the second chapter of the Childhood Obesity: Plan for action in June 2018, setting out the ambition to halve childhood obesity and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas by 2030.

Councils have a vital role to play to tackle childhood obesity but there can be significant obstacles. To address this, Government committed to a three year trailblazer programme to work with council-led projects in England to tackle childhood obesity at a local level, with a particular focus on inequalities.

Councils across England showed significant interest in the Trailblazer Programme, with 102 Expressions of Interest submitted between October and November 2018. 13 councils have been selected to undertake the funded 12-week discovery phase which will commence in early February.

The trailblazer programme aims 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; and
  • develop solutions to local obstacles and consider further actions government can take to enable ambitious local action and achieve change at scale.

Thirteen councils have been selected to undertake the discovery phase and will receive funding of £10,000 and support from a Delivery Support Partner, FutureGov, to develop a detailed proposal for the full three-year programme.

The three year trailblazer programme is anticipated to commence in late May 2019, with up to five sites selected to lead projects to implement their plans. Over the three years, trailblazer authorities will develop, deliver, review and expand their plans. Each trailblazer authority will receive £100,000 worth of funding and project support each year to progress their project. This will include government expert support, subject matter expertise, support from the Delivery Support Partner, FutureGov. Some support will also be provided to trailblazer authorities to develop their local evaluation plans in the early stages of the three-year programme.

The following councils have been selected to carry out a discovery phase:

  • Bath & North East Somerset Council
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Council
  • City of Bradford Metroplitan 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

Discovery phase summaries

It is a priority for us to share learning on local action to address childhood obesity and we are keen to engage and support wider councils to deliver their local vision.

The Trailblazer Learning Network is an opportunity for councils to stay linked into the programme. Through the network, councils will have access to forums, support materials and the latest learning from the programme.

There will also be engagement opportunities such as programme events and themed focus groups (please note, spaces may be limited). We will also be sharing approaches, learning and other materials on this webpage.

All councils who submitted an Expression of Interest have been invited to join the network. If you did not submit an application but would like to be included in the network please contact

Need more information? Please email