Nottinghamshire County Council: Year 2 Q2 update

Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) plans to build on their broader whole system approach around the community food environment, to develop food skills, access and support for families with children in the early years. 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.


  • Completion of evaluation framework and and evaluation partner now in place.
  • Analysis of Early Years survey responses, report and a case study produced. Work streams have been identified from survey findings.
  • Established relationship with Policy Innovation Research Unit (PIRU) to support analysis of EY survey and joint learning from our Trailblazer.  PIRU will carry out deeper analysis as part of evaluation and work streams identified in survey.
  • Commissioned the Soil Association Food For Life (FFL) early years’ Award and have identified 7 early years providers who are going to be part of this work.
  • Delivered focus groups to test recipe box/bag ideas due to feedback this has now evolved into meal kits
  • Worked with NCC commissioned Integrated Wellbeing Service ‘Your Health, Your Way’ to film cooking demonstrations of recipes based on foods available through Healthy Start
  • Delivering two successful Family Action model Food on Our Doorstep (FOOD) Club as a combined intervention alongside school meals in children centres. Used a distributive leadership approach to enable FOOD club interventions to be set up independently to the trailblazer by district council colleagues in Mansfield and being planned in Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood.
  • A Healthy Start vitamins ‘starter pack’ containing a free bottle of vitamins and information and advice is now given out to all pregnant women in Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark and Sherwood at their 12 week scan. The Healthy Families Teams in these areas give out a bottle of vitamins and information to all breastfed babies at the birth visit (formula fed babies do not need them as vitamins are already added to formula milk).
  • Healthy Start promotional materials have been developed and disseminated including a poster, Facebook post, e mail banner, vitamins leaflet, slide set for use within different teams/organisations and template newsletter article.


  • The time taken to evaluate and analyse the Early Years survey responses was much longer than first anticipated. The learning is that the deeper levels of analysis only become apparent the more you unpick the questions and the responses received.
  • Procurement has taken time and resource not just from project officers and public health but across other departments including procurement, contracting, legal services and IT support. It is important to engage with the different departments at an early stage of project planning, so they are fully aware of the capacity needed. They can then plan this need for extra capacity at the earliest stage.
  • It’s been good personal development for both project support officers having been involved in a number of complex procurement and commissioning exercises across a wide range of NCC departments and externally with NHS foundation trusts and the voluntary sector.
  • Use of technology has helped facilitate an increase in partnership working not just across departments within NCC but also across the wider project team across a broad range of stakeholders. We have established a Childhood Obesity MS teams site which has helped inform partners/stakeholders of daily developments/reflections.
  • The use of virtual meetings has enabled us to bring the delivery groups from different areas together. We have found this to be a more effective, efficient and productive model avoiding duplication. We can now share learning across the different geographical areas and interventions whilst making decisions across both interventions so that we have a consistent model of delivery e.g. Eligibility.
  • As part of the Food insecurity network initiated and lead by Public Health, we have been able to use a distributive leadership approach to influence a number of projects/interventions through wider partners across Nottinghamshire.
  • FOOD clubs can be utilised as part of early intervention strategy to prevent families needing to use food banks
  • The partnership with Family Action in delivering FOOD clubs has resulted in extra benefits including access to the Barclays funded lifeskills programme and holiday activities
  • The concept of the test and learn approach and being given ‘permission to fail’ has been challenging for us all (wider partners) to accept. We will learn more from our failures than we do from our success and its challenging for colleagues/stakeholders to flick their mindset from their day to day work to Trailblazer work so we need to reassure colleagues/stakeholders of this when working on Childhood Obesity Trailblazer interventions/Activity areas, we are going to get things wrong but that's ok....   


  • The restrictions put in place and pausing of the Trailblazer programme in March due to COVID-19 has impacted on the ability to fully prototype the meal kit (recipe bag) concept. This has meant adapting the plans and process originally intended.
  • The impact the response to COVID-19 has had on the capacity of our colleagues in school meals team to undertake the development work for the meal kit concept (e.g. recipe card development and filming of recipes).
  • Planned activities such as cookery demonstrations and engagement activities in children centres have had to be stopped and delivery model reconsidered to ensure plans fit in with Children Centres Recovery Plans.

Next steps

  • Continued development of new FOOD clubs in identified Children’s Centres in Ashfield and Newark and Sherwood.
  • Initiate community of practice (COP) to support project planning for recipe bag concept utilising delivery support partner COP framework
  • Disseminate Child feeding guide fussy feeding training to frontline practitioners in early years sector and Children Centre’s
  • Scope out the utilisation of school meals supply chain for early years settings and childminders
  • Utilise COTP learning and use this knowledge to support county wide approach to holiday food and enrichment activities project planning for school holidays
  • Delivering a County wide Healthy Start promotional campaign using a range of locally produced materials based on recent changes to the scheme.
  • Continuing to roll out the vitamin starter packs across the whole of Nottinghamshire, with County wide coverage anticipated early 2021