Celebrating Sugar Smart in Royal Greenwich 18 months on

  • Event at Charlton Athletic brings together organisations promoting the initiative

  • Three local schools and four youth hubs represented

School children, community leaders and councillors were among the guests at a Sugar Smart event at The Valley on Monday 18 June to celebrate the progress since the Royal Borough of Greenwich launched the campaign in the Borough 18 months ago.

Hosted by Royal Greenwich, its Director of Public Health Steve Whiteman, Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT), Charlton Athletic and caterers Delaware North, the event saw a wide range of speakers share experiences and highlight the work ongoing in their organisations as part of the Sugar Smart scheme.

Charlton Manor Primary School Headteacher Tim Baker and pupils from Cardwell Primary School and The John Roan Secondary School reflected on their experiences of Sugar Smart initiatives, including cookery workshops and awareness campaigns.

Delaware North, who are one of CACT’s patrons, have removed sugar from hot drink stands at The Valley, given out free fruit to young people on match days and introduced a 10p levy on sugary drinks around the ground.

The levy has raised £743, which will go straight towards the Big Summer Feast programme for young people on free school meals.

Sugar Smart initiatives have also become part of the curriculum of Young Greenwich, the youth service CACT delivers on behalf of the Royal Borough.

Jeannette Harrison, CACT’s Head of Youth Service, said:

“Our youth workers have put a lot of work into engaging young people in the campaign, and it’s been great to see some of the results.

“We’ve been really impressed at how much of an effort young people at all four of our hubs have made to not only be Sugar Smart themselves but encourage their peers to be too.”

Attendees watched a video of young people from youth hubs discuss the importance of reducing sugar consumption.

Cllr David Gardner, Deputy Leader of Royal Greenwich, and Cabinet Member for Children's Services and Schools, said:

“I think the campaign has been very good. We’ve got 60 organisations signed up, including big organisations like CACT, all pledging to reduce sugar and think again about the type of food they offer.

“And we can go much further. It’s about making the difference not just in schools and at work but also at home.”

Other speakers included Cllr Averil Lekau, Royal Greenwich’s new Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Health and Anti-Poverty, Danny Ruta, Lewisham Council’s Director of Public Health, and Claire Pritchard, the London Food Board Chair.

Danny and Claire reflected on the national context of obesity and diabetes. More money is spent across the country on treating obesity and diabetes than on the police, the fire service and the judiciary combined.

More than 40% of 10 to 11-year-olds in Royal Greenwich are overweight or obese, more than the London and England averages, highlighting the importance of the initiative.

Watch video coverage of the event, including interviews with Cllr David Gardner, Jason Morgan MBE and Darren Kent, Delaware North's General Manager at Charlton Athletic.

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