Nottinghamshire County Council: Year 2 Q3 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 is also providing expert support and advice.


  • Formulated early years nutritional offer with school meal branding incorporated (in design of recipe cards along with children’s centres strap line)
  • Utilised learning from the Venner prototype and incorporated into next phase of meal kit planning concept along with learning from service user journey and focus groups to further refine prototypes (10 week pilot) Recruited 10 Children’s Centres to use school meal recipes to provide meal kits over 10 weeks (aim to find out if children are eating the food, is the pricing acceptable etc.) Working with delivery support partner (DSP) to mobilise meal kit (defined timeline and process map for meal kit). On 18 May, 10 families will receive meal kits and will feedback
  • Brand identity for the meal kit unique to Nottinghamshire; selection of three designs to be tested out to finalise logo. Working Group in Children’s Centre set up to work through next steps
  • Food Box/Venner – learning has enabled reciprocal relationship with Morrisons. five-day meal kit going live on Morrisons website. Notts CC will put Morrisons in touch with integrated well-being team and facilitate.
  • Children’s Centres taken the lead on evidencing and data collection – should have a snapshot available in September. County wide survey to take place in March 2022 then annually
  • Food club roll out very successful. Resulting from Trailblazer team/county partners and Family Action discussions, a fully funded model of FOOD club delivery across the County available. Finalising plans for phase two rollout of Food on Our Doorstep (FOOD) clubs in two new areas of the County, commencing after Easter – one in a Children’s Centre which learning from phase 1 has helped plan and 2. a partnership between a local college and Children Centre. Final prioritisation plan agreed for remaining phases of roll out.
  • Up to 30 FOOD clubs operational in Notts by March 2022. Most of these clubs will be in Children Centres, demonstrating the community asset that Children centres are
  • Utilised COTP learning to support county wide approach to HAF (Holiday Activity and Food) programme including recipe booklet to be used in those sessions that are able to be delivered face to face in Children’s Centres and Youth Centres
  • Evaluation framework – have a local evaluator in place and work will be ongoing
  • A pack of Healthy Start promotional materials including a poster, social media post, newsletter article and presentation to share with teams has been widely circulated across Nottinghamshire County Council, including Early Years, Food Insecurity, Local Resilience Forum and child poverty networks. Report at end June
  • Family Action supported in registering as a Healthy start retailer so Families can use their Healthy start vouchers as payment for the Food supplied when attending the club. Family Action recruiting for people to support food club work
  • Partnership formed with Feeding Britain who will be supporting District and Borough Council colleagues to set up food specific networks of support within each district.  Networks started in Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood with remaining five districts to follow which will help the work of the newly established county wide Food Insecurities Network. Putting out feelers to Local Authorities to be involved in conversations, particularly around Ministers free school meals to be opt out
  • Plans to deliver vitamin starter packs to all pregnant women in the Bassetlaw area finalised, with start date of April 2021
  • Holding Early Years (EY) providers event in autumn, in discussions with school chef and examining costings.
  • Linking with meals on wheels in September and looking forward to working more with childminders (represented 60 per cent of survey response rate)
  • Putting together webinars and business case for Healthier at home meals toolkit
  • Community field hub will be set up, represents an amalgamation of all work carried out. Several partners will be members of the hub including Family Action, Feeding Britain, Food for Life etc. Meeting took place end of May to further discuss what partners could bring to the hub
  • Health and Wellbeing Board - new start from 2022, requested COTP team put together a story around each Trailblazer activity area – interested in how the team worked through COVID-19 and whole systems approach


  • Thematic analysis of meal kit journey so far to consider and using learning from the testing of different meal kits
  • Utilising learning from how the Early Childhood Services engage with childminders
  • Discuss at next project meeting how engagement has worked previously and to see if any established routes/forums we can link in to for further learning
  • Working with county council leadership team to get better mutual understanding of shared priorities to enable roll out of different initiatives has been helpful
  • Local knowledge/history/culture/personalities determines approach to engage and enable change. Situational leadership approach important
  • Role of public health support officer important as bridges gap between strategic commissioning and provider into delivery at local level
  • Notts COTP has helped influence offer and culture of work in Children’s centres and buy in from senior leadership in children’s services very important to bring about alignment
  • Whole systems approach to tackling childhood obesity very fragile – external factors can impact the work undertaken (McDonalds being built in Bassetlaw)
  • Partnership working provides excellent example to other parts of council and influencing a public health approach to other areas
  • Linking different organisations allows discussions to take place across more platforms
  • Utilising students in a college setting to help support Children’s Centres work – co-production learning gained by working with student support
  • Registration process for Family Action was very difficult – each Food Club had to be registered separately, which was a barrier. A valuable lesson learned was understanding who was best to work with and seeking out those who were willing to help overcome barriers. Notts success in overcoming barriers is proof that Trailblazer work can be successful in all councils
  • Meal kit learning – time it takes to put kits together (measuring ingredients etc – FOUR hours for 10 kits) and storage space for ingredients was a challenge. Raised questions about viability, highlighted team’s lack of food supply chain experience and highlighted co-production issues.
  • To continue work post 2022, it is important to have strategic senior management buy in
  • Shout about TB work – it is valued


  • On-going effects of COVID restrictions
  • Digitalising Healthy Start scheme by October 2021, may slow work down, however it is anticipated to streamline work and make it more efficient
  • Following election, engaging with new leaders re COTP, want their buy in but need to be aware that they will have COVID-19 responsibilities as well, so capacity restricted
  • Due to COVID impacting on the capacity of the school meals team we have been unable to prototype the recipes with families during 2020 as per the original plan
  • Delays and barriers to delivery of meal kit means it was a challenge to fully prototype/test all aspects to move learning forward for development and delivery
  • Good engagement with Childminders through Early years survey but not had opportunity to engage with them yet re Food for Life work
  • Mobilising various Public Health initiatives within Children Centres at the same time as other wider initiatives, impacting on capacity of CC team and others
  • Notts CC project delivery expectations/plans not being in line with project partners response to lifting of COVID restrictions
  • Trailblazer work to date may not be sustainable at current rate without thought and planning

Next steps

  • Nottinghamshire County Council to speak at Food Matters event on 30 June; they will give an update and share their experience and learning about their Trailblazer work
  • Test the recipes with a large cohort of families and form a co-productive and robust feedback mechanism with these families to ensure the development of the meal kit intervention is in line with family’s needs
  • Deliver a County wide Healthy Start promotional campaign using a range of locally produced materials based on recent changes to the scheme
  • Embed Healthy Start into Community of Practice (CoP)
  • Liaise with District Council leads to scope work with businesses/retailers in defined Trailblazer areas, to raise awareness of Healthy Start and increase opportunities for people to use their vouchers locally
  • 1st Phase of Child Feeding guide training roll out with 50 licenses used by end of next quarter
  • Process mapping complete with meal kit working group and process prototypes with families receiving meal kit and intelligence collated. Plan to recruit a large cohort of parents who will use the meal kits and provide some invaluable feedback and intelligence
  • Development of Healthy School meals supply chain work progressing and exploration to identify healthier affordable food. Focusing work on the school meals supply chain with Childminders, planned for the Autumn. Once meal kit fully prototyped, plan to move into the utilisation of the school meal supply chain to childminders (prioritised meal kit Autumn 2021)
  • Establishing standard evaluation/data collection for County to enable us to assess the impact of this work at a county wide level
  • First Draft of Revised Cook and Eat lesson plans written with a view to small prototypes to in selected Children’s Centres
  • Continuing to roll out the vitamin starter packs across the whole of Nottinghamshire, with County wide coverage anticipated early 2021
  • Raise sustainability of Trailblazer work and vision beyond 2022 at next Governance meeting
  • Discuss at monthly LGA meetings/seek feedback from PHE/DHSC via LGA re programme delivery plans to ensure mutual understanding of direction of Notts trailblazer
  • Continue discussion with partners re how lifting of COVID restrictions translates into working practices and timelines (standing agenda item at project and all sub-group meetings)
  • Further scoping completed to set up North Notts (COTP districts) Food growing network
  • Mid project strategic review of project action areas