Westminster Think Tank

John Bishop recently met with Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington and Shadow Public Health Minister, to look at ways of combating the rising obesity levels in the UK.

John joined colleagues from Play England and Docklands Settlements at Portcullis House to debate the issue and agree effective measures that should be taken to encourage children to become more physically active.  The debate focussed on two main areas: during school time and out of school settings.
The impact that Project HE:RO is having in certain parts of the country was discussed and Evolve’s imminent London operation was welcomed.  It was felt that schools have an important role to play in helping children to develop healthy lifestyles and it is essential that headteachers realise this, regardless of where OFSTED and the Department for Education are currently focussing their efforts.  The group also praised the holistic approach adopted by Project HE:RO and the broader agenda that it addresses, offering a much greater return on investment than sports schemes or independent mentoring programmes.
In relation to what can be done out of school hours within local communities, the reclamation of unused public space for play areas was discussed and various case studies were reviewed.  This part of the discussion provided a valuable insight for ongoing research into a new programme that is currently being developed by Evolve that will build upon the success of Project HE:RO and aim to replicate within community settings.  Watch this space for further information about the exciting launch event which is scheduled for later in the year.
Diane thanked all who attended for their valuable contribution and asked to be kept updated with how Project HE:RO is developing and when we are ready to offer it to schools within her constituency of Hackney North and Stoke Newington.