London Borough of Lewisham: Year 1 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. Lewisham plans to test its powers to restrict high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS advertising and utilise donated outdoor advertising space for health promoting advertisements.

Background to area

  • With an estimated population of 301,300 Lewisham is the 14th largest borough in London by population size and the 5th largest in Inner London
  • Lewisham has been implementing a Whole Systems Approach to Obesity since 2016 and is one of four national pilot WSAO sites in the country
  • Implementing the WSAO is a direct response to the borough’s ongoing challenges around childhood obesity, including stark ethnic and geographic inequalities
  • These inequalities are particularly pertinent in Lewisham, where 25% of residents are aged 18 years or below and 73 per cent of the school-aged population are from BAME groups
  • There have been some early signs of potential impact from the whole systems approach, with a 5 per cent drop in reception year excess weight in 17/18. The challenge, however, persists with the prevalence of reception year excess weight at 21.7 per cent and at 37.4 per cent in year six (2019/20)
  • Inequalities are also still evident, with the prevalence of excess weight amongst Lewisham’s Black reception age children being 25 per cent compared with 15 per cent in their White counterparts. The prevalence of excess weight for year six children living in New Cross ward is 49 per cent compared with 26 per cent for those living in Crofton Park ward

What is the project trying to achieve?

  • Lewisham plans to test its powers to restrict high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS advertising and utilise donated outdoor advertising space for health promoting advertisements
  • The project plans to implement a voluntary restriction across the borough through contracts with major advertising estate owners working in partnership with JCDecaux, Outsmart (representing Outdoor media owners) and ISBA (representing and brands)
  • This builds on the Transport for London (TFL) estate HFSS restrictions which cover 50% of advertising space in Lewisham, to cover all JCDecaux owned estate in year 1, taking total restrictions across 80% of out of home (OOH) advertising space
  • The remaining donated advertising space will be utilised to promote public health campaigns devised with the community and support local businesses offering healthier options

Progress (July 2019-June 2020)

  • Regular meetings of the partnership steering group
  • Six governing principles agreed by the group and used at meetings
  • Beta launch of a poster on the digital billboard
  • Vegpower artwork competition ran borough wide for all KS2 children. The winning artwork was launched across Lewisham’s OOH estate in September 2019
  • Produced plan of key dates and national campaigns for 2020 to help develop timeline for focus of local creatives
  • Access to JCDecaux OOH estate for health promotion campaigns:
    • Permanent Access:  Digital estate – 12 screens 15% share time, Printed estate – 44 Council Information Panels
    • Donated access to printed bus shelter advertisement panels, if available at time of campaign
  • Finalised voluntary agreement with JCDecaux on HFSS restrictions in Lewisham to start from January 2020 and operate until 31 December 2021.
  • Launch of the HFSS restrictions across the JCDecaux estate in January through a voluntary agreement with JCDecaux. Restriction now cover 80% of the OOH estate in the borough.
  • Process agreed for JCDecaux to ensure that advertisers use TfL compliant adverts in Lewisham, minimising the need to determine compliance at borough level
  • Successful appointment of local evaluation partner through an open tender process. Ottaway Strategic Management Limited will start work in the new year and undertake the baseline measures in January. The tender included social value - including training of local residents to undertake baseline surveys alongside the researchers to support upskilling local people
  • Worked with Sustain on the development of a Sugar Smart poster that was used for the launch date in February
  • Lewisham’s Health and Wellbeing Board (HWBB) has made addressing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) health inequalities one of its main priorities for the next 3 years. Three specific areas of BAME health inequality have been selected to focus on: mental health, cancer and obesity
  • Developed a brief for procuring co-production from local organisations
  • First community co-production sessions creating and designing a poster to be advertised in the borough to encourage behavioural change of local businesses to become sugar smart and kick start a social environment where there is new interaction between the campaign and the community
  • Sugar Smart poster (first poster) co-designed with Sustain went live mid-February on the OOH estate
  • Young Mayor’s team started working on the co-production of the first campaign.15 young advisors will be involved with the process with a focus on how Children and Young People can influence businesses to become Sugar Smart. Process supported by industry partners Outsmart and working with local creative design team.


  • True co-production takes time and must not be rushed
  • It is important that all partners in the programme have a shared understanding of the co-production approach and we needed to agree how much power we were willing to give to residents
  • Six governing principles are in place for the Trailblazer steering group that have helped create a shared approach

What next?

  • Commission local communities to co-produce campaigns – to include a focus on key messages celebrating culture and diversity
  • Commission creative design to support production of local campaigns
  • Commence display of pilot co-produced local campaigns
  • Commission Behaviour Insight Specialist to support community co-production process
  • Monitor and refresh campaigns
  • Year 1 interim evaluation to be developed