What’s it all about?

Go Golborne is a new initiative led by the Royal Borough’s public health team to support children and families living in and around the Golborne area to eat well and keep active. By helping children to enjoy healthy habits we can help set them up for a healthier, happier future.     

The project aims to consolidate all the great work already taking place across Golborne, as well as kick-start new action across all the different settings in which children and families live, learn and play.

A network of local organisations is being set up to help promote consistent healthy lifestyle messages to children and families and create new ways to help put them into practice. Lots of activities to make this happen will take place including free staff training, community-wide campaigns, local events, free posters and resources, plus a scheme of small grants to support new initiatives across the area.

We want everyone to play a part – parents, schools, nurseries, youth clubs, libraries, shops, playgroups, town planners, charities…the list goes on.

What healthy lifestyle themes will Go Golborne focus on?

We know that modern life can make it difficult for us all to make healthy food choices and fit in enough physical activity, so the plan is to focus on small, achievable changes that will add up to a big difference. We will be promoting activities on the following themes:

Active travel: Encouraging children to build plenty of physical activity into their day by walking, scooting, skipping, cycling, skating (you get the idea) around town and using cars and buses less - especially for short journeys.

Active play: Encouraging children to run, jump, climb and play as much and as often as possible in local parks, playgrounds and open spaces – school aged children need to build at least 60 minutes of vigorous physical activity into their day and under fives need to be active for at least three hours a day.   

Screen time: Encouraging children and young people to spend less time watching TV and playing computers and more time up and about – aiming for less than two hours a day on screens for school aged children and even less for under fives.

Eat well: Encouraging good nutrition by supporting children to eat regular meals and a balanced diet – helping to make sure they get their 5 A DAY (fruit and veg), drink plenty of water and limit sugar, salt and fat.    

Me size meals: Supporting children to eat the right amount of food for their growing bodies – this includes eating meals with the right kind of portion size and healthy snacking habits. 

Shopping and chopping: Helping children and families to plan, shop for and cook healthy meals. Understanding how food is produced, labelled and marketed and tips for eating well on a budget.

See the top tips page for more information.

That seems very broad - how will you stay focused?

To help keep things manageable we will focus attention on a different ‘headline’ topic every six months, alternating between a key healthy eating and physical activity message. This will enable us to thoroughly explore all opportunities to promote a particular message and help people put it into practice. The first theme will be 5 A DAY.

While at any one time there will be focus on a particular headline theme, we aim to share and celebrate work taking place across Golborne on the broad range of healthy eating and physical activity themes on an ongoing basis (via our website and social media). We will also continuously promote and support activities led by other council departments that contribute to our objectives as well as national initiatives such as Change4life.

Why focus attention on a different topic every six months?

Research suggests that people are more likely to take health messages on board if they receive the same message repeatedly over a sustained period and receive prompts to help them to put the message into practice. Focusing on a different ‘headline’ topic every six months will enable the messages to penetrate and also give us time to introduce activities (such as cooking clubs, cycle training) to help children and families put the learning into action.

Why is the initiative taking place in Golborne?

Golborne is one of the most deprived areas of the borough. Children living in deprived areas are more likely to experience poor health linked to poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and being an unhealthy weight. Go Golborne is a pilot initiative – if it proves successful in improving children’s health it may be introduced in other wards experiencing similar levels of deprivation and poor health. 

Golborne was chosen above other wards with similar levels of need as there is potential to reach a large number of children and young people. There are lots of schools, nurseries, play centres and youth clubs. There is also a parade of shops, a market and local parks – providing opportunities to explore how the local environment can support healthy lifestyles from a number of different angles.  

Isn't a lot of work to encourage healthy lifestyles already happening across Golborne?

Yes – and that’s brilliant. A key aim of Go Golborne is to help share and consolidate all the many examples of good work that is already taking place and enable colleagues working in different settings to collaborate and learn from one another. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel but we do want to make sure that children and families get the most from the great services and facilities available, encourage further innovation and help fill gaps in services that will inevitably exist. 

How will you know what impact the initiative has on children's health?

We are developing a large scale evaluation to measure the impact of the project on outcomes for children, which will be led by an independent academic. This will involve annual health surveys on a sample of children attending local primary schools, focus groups with local parents and participating agencies and collection and analysis of additional National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) data.

Do you have a 'control group' for the evaluation?

No. It would be very difficult to draw comparisons between areas as the causes of unhealthy lifestyles are very complex and no two areas are the same. Instead, we are introducing a ‘before’ and ‘after’ study that will compare NCMP data to local and national trends and align the health survey with comparable data from the Health Survey for England.

Why are you taking this approach?

The model and approach of Go Golborne has been informed by research into ‘what works’ from other interventions to promote healthy lifestyles and healthy weight among children. It is particularly inspired by a programme called EPODE that was initiated in France and has since been introduced in many countries internationally. Evidence suggests that initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles work best when targeted at a local level so they can respond to the unique needs of individual communities. What works in one area might not work elsewhere.

Learning from other areas also highlights the importance of taking a ‘whole system’ approach – this means everyone who lives and works in a community playing their part to make it a healthier place for children to grow up and exploring opportunities to promote health from all angles.  

How will the local community be involved in the design and delivery of the project?

We will regularly consult children and families on plans for the project and ensure the focus of the campaigns and related activities are in line with local priorities. For example, we consulted at the Golborne Festival in July 2014 to get some initial ideas from local residents about how eating healthily and keeping active could be made easier. These ideas have fed into project plans. We have also consulted local children and families on the development of the project branding via schools, youth clubs and Children’s Centres.

Local agencies will have numerous opportunities to contribute to the design and delivery of activities via a local steering group, planning workshops and the scheme of local grants.

How does it link with the national Change4Life campaign?

The Go Golborne healthy lifestyle themes incorporate Change4Life. We will be using Change4Life resources and promoting the bi-annual Change4Life campaigns as a key part of our activities.  

Might children and families in Golborne feel stigmatised by the project?

It is a community-wide approach so messages about healthy lifestyles will not be targeted at individual children and families. We will take a positive approach and develop activities that are fun and playful. Our aim is to support children and families to make realistic, incremental steps towards healthier lifestyles rather than dictate rules that are difficult to adopt and sustain.

How will the grant scheme work?

Grant schemes will be introduced to enable local voluntary organisations and social enterprises that work with children and families in the Golborne area to apply for small grants of up to £1,500 for initiatives and equipment that will help local children to eat well and keep active. The grant scheme will begin in July 2015 and the first round of funding will be to support initiatives with a focus on promoting fruit and vegetables. This could be to pay staff to deliver new activities or for equipment (or a bit of both).

A new round of small grants will open every six months, alternating between nutrition and physical activity themes. The application process will be simple and organisations will be able to apply for funds on more than one occasion. There will also be a small funding pot to support colleagues working in different council departments to develop specific initiatives in the Golborne area.

How will the initiative be sustained after the third year?

Go Golborne is a pilot initiative - decisions about its long term future will be made based on findings from the evaluation. Efforts will be made to integrate successful elements of the project into mainstream services provided by the Council and other agencies.

How will you reach minority groups and families that don't typically engage with this kind of initiative?

We will be working with local authority children and family services and local voluntary agencies to help ensure that all children and families living in and around the Golborne area have opportunities to receive the healthy lifestyle messages and participate in activities to help put them into practice. Where necessary we will translate our materials to ensure they are accessible to different groups within the community and target activities to children and families who may need additional support to make healthy lifestyles a priority.