Shaping Places for Healthier Lives: London Borough of Newham

Newham’s long-term vision is to understand and address food insecurity for children and young people so that all families can afford and benefit from a sufficient, nutritious diet.

Row of children's legs in wellington boots

Addressing food insecurity for children and young people living in Newham by implementing a community-based system dynamics approach"

Over half of Newham’s 60,000 children and young people live in poverty (51.8% after housing costs, 2019) and 17,154 are eligible for free school meals.

Food insecurity is a key driver of poor health outcomes and Newham’s development phase explorations led them to focus on causes by economic hardship.

Newham wants to create a system shift in how the borough’s food insecurity interventions are framed and delivered.  

A systems approach will build on and extend existing strategies and interventions already underway, but also allow more creativity and new connections, identifying new levers for action.  Long-term, they believe this will create a more effective and sustainable approach to children and young people (CYP) food security and ultimately ensure no CYP in Newham go hungry. 

The project aims include:

  • Embedding a systems approach to CYP’s food insecurity across the council by creating structures and methods for coordination among partners, making ‘systems thinking’ a default approach for the council and local partners, and sewing a ‘food security in all actions’ ethos into the fabric of the whole council.  
  • Identifying and demonstrating success and levers for action - pinpointing where there may be potential for new interventions that bring maximum return, and exploring why some existing interventions may fail.  Where are the gaps, and where is the potential for maximum impact? 
  • Investing in partnership working and communication and enhancing community engagement and participation; improving understanding of inequality and diversity
  • From this, the team hopes to support a cohesive, system-wide package of sustainable interventions.  The project will be co-delivered with voluntary sector and academic partners, including the Association for Young People’s Health, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 

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