PURELY Nutrition, which has pioneered healthy eating in more than 1,860 primary schools through its PhunkyFoods programme, has for the third time been recognised for its work in the campaign against childhood obesity by the Royal Society for Public Health.
The Harrogate-based company is one of 26 organisations honoured as part of the Society’s Health and Wellbeing Awards which empower communities and individuals and improve the nation’s health.
The Society’s chief executive officer Shirley Cramer said: “We have a long history of promoting good practice in public health and we are proud of our Health and Wellbeing Awards which provide a stage to celebrate the great work of organisations across the country regardless of their sector, size and setting.”
She added: “It was an extremely competitive field this year and I would like to congratulate our 2015 winners who are all exemplars of innovative, progressive programmes to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. I hope that their effective programmes will be adopted and celebrated elsewhere.”
It was in 2011 that the Harrogate-based company was first recognised by the Society and then again in 2013. This year the Society acknowledges Purely Nutrition’s outstanding track record of promoting health and wellbeing through its work in improving children’s understanding of food and nutrition.
The PhunkyFoods programme teaches children up to the age of 11 about healthy eating through fun activities, including drama, music, crafts and games.
Dr Jennie Cockroft, director of nutrition at Purely Nutrition said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won this award for a third time. We recognise, however, there is no room for complacency. Childhood obesity remains one of the most serious public health issues today in the UK, with no let-up in the obesity epidemic we are facing.”
She added: “We know that obese children are more likely to become obese adults and face greater ill health at an earlier age as a result. PhunkyFoods continues to roll out its work across the UK, helping teachers to deliver healthy lifestyle messaging through fun; turning schools into healthier environments from which to build healthier communities.”
It is 11 years since Dr Cockroft and Sorrell Fearnall, the company’s managing director, launched Purely Nutrition. Their strategies are not only recognised in the UK by MPs from across the political spectrum along with senior government advisors. “Winning this award for a third time is not only exciting but pushes us to constantly ensure we have an evolving programme,” said Ms Fearnall.
“Initiatives like that of PhunkyFoods help stem the tide of obesity but it still remains a complex issue and while we are making huge steps forward in tackling the crisis more still needs to be done. The Government does need to have a clear line on what it wants to do and then stick to its guns as to what its approach is.”
She added that one of the key points this year was that Purely Nutrition had increased its workforce with an additional 10 community support workers in England and Scotland.
Their job is to support schools with the implementation of the PhunkyFoods Programme through staff training and to act as advisors to help schools deliver a “whole-school” approach to healthy lifestyles. They also aid community engagement with the childhood obesity agenda by delivering parental programmes and facilitating strong, sustainable community links with partner schools.