City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council: Year 2 Q2 update

The Childhood Obesity Trailblazer Programme is funded by the Department and Health and Social Care and administered by the Local Government Association. Public Health England also providing expert support and advice The Trailblazer will harness the potential of Islamic Religious Settings (IRS) and their communities as levers to tackle the cultural, and structural drivers of ethnic inequalities in childhood obesity in Bradford. The Trailblazer will harness the potential of Islamic Religious Settings (IRS) and their communities as levers to tackle the cultural, and structural drivers of ethnic inequalities in childhood obesity in Bradford.


  • Developed digital coproduction methodology to continue and finalise contents for the trailblazer toolkit.
  • Created five small groups working of researchers and community members on producing toolkit contents on the themes: 1) physical activity, 2) healthy diet, 3) organisational changes, 4) Islamic narrative, and 5) behaviour change techniques.
  • Organised ten digital place-based groups in Bradford comprising of Islamic leaders, parents of children attending madrassa, staff working in Islamic religious settings, community members and our Trailblazer Community Engagement Manager.
  • Three locally embedded subject matter experts working closely with place based groups on producing contents for the delivery of health promotion in Islamic religious settings.
  • Capacity building for our 10 place based groups to apply for local funding and register as community organisations or affiliate themselves with local community groups
  • Shared our trailblazer learning with PHE and emphasised the need to co-produce localised, tailored and targeted messages for communities badly hit by COVID-19.
  • Trailblazer Community Engagement Manager conducted 30 test and learn sessions on different obesity prevention behaviours with place based groups. In these sessions, Bradford Trailblazer delivered and disseminated locally tailored and acceptable behaviours on healthy diet, physical activity and organisational changes within Islamic religious settings.


  • Flexible and adoptable methodologies of engaging with communities can help adjust a force majeure like COVID-19. Our digital co-production methodology has been very helpful to deliver programme ensuring COVID-19 compliance.
  • Islamic religious settings are taking a very cautious approach on opening up after COVID-19 lockdowns. We need to adjust and adapt our community engagement activities on their pace rather than following the timeline of our programme plans.
  • Our place-based groups require more time than we expected to process information on healthy behaviours before they feedback to us.
  • Behaviour change in organisations like IRS is a continuous and long-term process of reciprocal engagement. We enabled two place based groups to apply for a locally available physical activity delivery funding (JUMP Awards) to become part of mainstream health promotion programmes.  It was the first time that Islamic religious settings entered into a competitive process of applying for funding aiming at health promotion.  Both funding applications were unsuccessful and rejected as the funders maintained that Islamic religious settings are not registered as voluntary and community sector organisations, don’t have constitution and banks accounts.


  • Our programme delivery was built upon the logic of face-to-face interactions with individual, communities and organisations to encourage healthy behaviours for obesity prevention. This ceased due to COVID lockdown.
  • Staffs in mosques and madrassas are generally community volunteers with diverse backgrounds. Most of them are not equipped with training on health promotion initiatives. 
  • We are constantly encouraging IRS and building their capacity to become part of health promotion programmes that complement their overall functioning. This is a structural issue and will take a long-term approach to continue encouraging IRS to become partners for health promotion initiatives.
  • Funder and delivery organisations have rigid and non-flexible systems to engage with local and place based groups that are not registered as community organisations.

Next steps

  • To conduct test and learn sessions with place-based groups on toolkit contents for healthy behaviours like healthy diet, physical activity, and organisational changes. 
  • Train staff in mosques and madrassas for the delivery on toolkit contents
  • Refine contents based on learning from test and learn with place-based groups
  • Identify community individuals to deliver trainings to all place-based groups
  • Establish funding needs with place-based groups in line with their priorities
  • Capacity building of place-based groups for pursuing various funding
  • Begin process evaluation on coproducing toolkit