Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and Active Communities have today launched a pilot programme that will deliver additional support for local families to help them provide a healthy start for their pre-school children.

Thrive Under 5 aims to help families ensure their children have good nutrition, healthy eating habits and physical activity. It also aims to ensure more families at risk of diet-related health inequalities are accessing support and actively benefiting from services.

Childhood overweight and obesity figures spiked during the COVID pandemic. While the total numbers have come down from that peak, in-depth analysis highlights that in the most deprived communities, there has been a rise in the level of children who are obese.

Children and adolescents living with obesity can experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, and psychological effects.

Thrive Under 5 takes a whole system, community food nurturing approach with the families of pre-school children, combining action on food and financial insecurity, healthy eating and physical activity.

Following a successful pilot in Glasgow, which has been operating over the last two years, Scottish Government funding has now been made available to pilot the programme in Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and East Renfrewshire.

Johnstone has been selected as the initial Thrive Under 5 pilot area for Renfrewshire, with Active Communities chosen as the delivery partner. This was due to their existing links to the local community and their facilities within Johnstone, which features a food pantry and a weekly money advice support drop in.

Renfrewshire Citizen’s Advice Bureau will provide dedicated money advice and Active Communities will provide physical activity opportunities for the whole family.

The pilot will support a minimum of 60 families in Johnstone, who have at least one child under the age of five – and meet one or more of the following criteria: they have a child under one, are single parents, have three or more children, have a disabled adult or child family member, are ethnic minority families, and, or, are parents under the age of 25.

The launch event was hosted by Cllr Jennifer Adam in her capacity as Chair of the Renfrewshire Integration Joint Board (IJB), the board responsible for planning, resourcing and overseeing the operational delivery of integrated health and social care services in Renfrewshire.

It brought together key stakeholders that support families with pre-5 children, including Health Visiting, Family Nurse Partnership, Social Work, Education and 3rd sector organisations. 

Cllr Adam commented: “I am honoured to host the launch of this important and exciting new pilot scheme to help families with young children. Active Communities already do some fantastic work in our communities – and I am confident this partnership will further strengthen strong local collaborative working to benefit the people of Renfrewshire.”

Alan Clark, CEO at Active Communities added, “This project will allow us to build upon our current community food initiatives including Johnstone Community Pantry, community meals, cooking classes and more.

“Thrive Under 5 will support around 60 families with the resources to tackle food insecurity with access to money advice, support to cook healthy meals, access to fresh fruit and vegetables, physical activity opportunities and much more. This is just the start, and we hope we can continue to build upon this momentum to support many more families.”

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