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Council creates first of its kind partnership

Veggie Run
West Ham United players Xande Silva and Angelo Ogbonna welcome Havering school children taking part in Veggie Run
Published: Thursday, 15 November 2018

West United players meet Havering school children taking part in Veggie Run

Veggie Run, the first Council-created app in England to educate children about healthy eating, has officially partnered with the premiership West Ham United (WHU) Foundation.

Ten pupils from Havering primary schools visited the West Ham United Stadium in their new Veggie Run printed WHU home kits and met the club’s players Xande Silva and Angelo Ogbonna to officially launch the collaboration.

Veggie Run has been downloaded more than 20,000 times since the app launched in April 2018 by the Council’s HES Catering Service. Through digital game play, children are encouraged to dodge unhealthy foods and learn about the rewards of eating a healthy school-catered lunch. Since launching, school-catered meal uptake in the borough has increased by 14 percent within one academic term.

This first of its kind collaboration will see the WHU Foundation deliver their ‘Healthy Hammers’ programme at more than half of the primary and junior schools in the borough, educating 2,400 children about the benefits of healthy living.

Cabinet, Councillor Robert Benham, Children’s Services, Learning and Education, said:

“At a time when the country is facing a childhood obesity epidemic, it’s great to see Havering at the forefront of innovation with Veggie Run and the West Ham United Foundation. Creating council-first partnerships with a premiership football foundation supports our borough’s proactive approach to educating children about the importance of healthy living."

“Our aim is to reduce the number of children eating unhealthy packed lunches and increase opportunities for them to access sporting activities.”

Dr Marilena Korkodilos, London deputy director at Public Health England, said:

“Veggie Run is a fun app to help children understand about healthy eating and directly rewards them with sports- based prizes."

“It is encouraging to see a local authority thinking innovatively about reducing child obesity and creating a tool that children can engage with.”

Joseph Lyons, Chief Executive Officer, West Ham United Foundation, said:

“We are delighted to be partnering with Havering Council and supporting the Veggie Run app, a ground-breaking initiative that we believe will be of great benefit to schoolchildren in the heart of West Ham United’s local community.

“The West Ham United Foundation is working with more than half of the primary and junior schools in Havering through this ‘Healthy Hammers’ partnership programme, to encourage and promote healthy eating among children, and the Club's recently-launched Players’ Project will ensure that this programme gets the support it deserves. We look forward to seeing it grow and develop in the coming months, to make a real positive difference to the lives of schoolchildren throughout Havering.”