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Health and wellbeing

Ambition for prosperous local food environment in public health annual report

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A public health annual report has highlighted the need for Walsall to have a sustainable, fair and prosperous food environment, helping residents to make nutritious, affordable food choices.

Image shows From left to right: Paul Mason of Goscote Greenacres, Vicky Hollender and Juli Copley of Radleys Primary School and Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health Walsall
From left to right: Paul Mason of Goscote Greenacres, Vicky Hollender and Juli Copley of Radleys Primary School and Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health Walsall. A presentation of the Food for Life Silver Award was made at the launch.

The Director of Public Health Walsall’s 2022 Annual Report entitled ‘Feeding our Future’ launched at Goscote Greenacres today (Monday 5 June 2023). The report highlights steps that everyone can take to eat well and to access local food initiatives.  

Residents are encouraged to take steps to increase their fruit, vegetables, fibre and water each day, introduce meat-free days to their diet and use free apps such as the NHS Food Scanner to maintain a healthy routine and make healthy decisions. Reviewing food hygiene ratings of premises is recommended to help inform food choices when outside the home. 

Eligible parents and carers are encouraged to take up the local offers of Healthy Start scheme vouchers, infant feeding and breastfeeding. 

Communities and organisations also have a role to play in improving the local food environment. Recommendations include supporting people to improve cooking skills, grow food, access local support, reduce food waste and promote better nutrition and diets.  

Previous figures have shown only 51.3% of adults in Walsall meet the recommended ‘5 A Day’ on a usual day. Research carried out with residents highlighted barriers to accessing food in shops and supermarkets, busy lifestyles and the cost of living affecting food choices and gaps in cooking and nutritional knowledge.

“ I welcome the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report on the local food environment. It acknowledges the fantastic work happening across Walsall to promote food and healthy eating. Projects like Goscote Greenacres, which we’ve seen today, play a vital role in giving residents access to good quality, local food.

The report also highlights challenges our local food system faces and makes recommendations on how to address them. I hope residents, communities and organisations can come together and make a difference to improve the quality of food in Walsall and enable opportunities to access local support in place.

I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the writing and publishing of this report. “

Councillor Gary Flint, Portfolio Holder for Wellbeing, Leisure and Public Spaces
Walsall Council

“ The culture of food in Britain has changed beyond recognition in the past 20 years. The type of food we eat, where it is sourced, how we cook, buy and dispose of our food waste, have altered dramatically. With these changes have come new and significant challenges.

We need a food system that supports health improvement, delivers high quality food and standards and enables us to be resilient to global challenges that we may face in the future.

I hope this annual report enables us to work proactively on local and national policies around food and there are simple steps we can all take to make the improvements needed. I am certain we can do this if we work together. “

Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health
Walsall Council

The full report can be downloaded from the Council website. 



Notes to editor: 

  • Each year, all Directors of Public Health across England, publish a statutory, independent report on a subject of choice or importance. The Walsall report provides an important measure of health and wellbeing in the borough and is an important opportunity to showcase the good work going on, address potential issues, and make recommendations for improvements in Walsall. The report is published on the Public Health page of the Walsall Council website

  • ‘Feeding our Future’ is a clear and comprehensive report, setting out the challenges our local food system faces and makes recommendations on how to address them. As part of the research for the report, residents were asked about their eating habits and their opinions on the food environment in Walsall. This was an important aspect of the report and helped to inform the recommendations.  

  • The report is split into three sections: food glorious food, the local food environment and food policy. 

  • The report launch took place at Goscote Greenacres on Monday 5 June and included a presentation from the Director of Public Health, Food for Life participants Radleys Primary School, a tour of Goscote Greenacres and a Cookalong session by My Time Active. You can find out more about the Food for Life programme in Walsall on their website

  • Goscote Greenacres provide opportunities for people with disabilities who use the centre as well as residents, community groups and schools in the Goscote area. 

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