Revamping the drink choices at Swan Hill District Health!

Vic Kids Eat Well – local partnerships kicking goals

The Inner East Community Health – Health Promotion Partnership is leading the way to boost healthy food and drink options for kids using the support of Vic Kids Eat Well.

All kids deserve the opportunity for a healthy start in life. The Inner East Partnership (Access Health and Community, healthAbility and Link Health and Community) have taken a unique, integrated approach to delivering Vic Kids Eat Well (VKEW) in the Inner Eastern Local Government areas. As a partnership, the aim was to maximise efforts to improve food and drink environments in settings and communities which need the most support.

The Partnership decided to share their resources and staff to deliver VKEW across the catchment, due to increased demand for the program. This approach involves each community health service leading implementation of VKEW across four local government areas in one of three VKEW settings; sports clubs, schools and Outside School Hours Care (OHSC) services. Not only does this approach support more settings than if they implemented the program individually within the usual one local government area, it also addresses the staffing capacity challenge faced as individual agencies.

To further support this approach, a cross-organisational VKEW Practitioner Working Group has been established within the Partnership to leverage local expertise across all settings and provide a platform for sharing ideas, challenges and solutions.

To promote the initiative, Latrobe Community Health Service and Link Health and Community held the first VKEW roundtable event in Victoria. This event was targeted at sporting clubs and promoted across the Inner East region. Leaders from local sports clubs, health services and local councils came together to talk about increasing the healthy food and drink options they offer children. The event resulted in twelve attendees, plus a commendation by Cancer Council Victoria and the team at VKEW for the leadership approach taken to the promotion and support of this initiative. Due to the success, an additional two roundtables were held with twenty-two participants attending.

This innovative partnership and engagement approach to delivering VKEW is already seeing progress. Within six months of promotion, the partnership has been able to support ten OSHCs, six schools and nine sports clubs to work towards their small and big bites. Without this integrated approach, these numbers would be much lower, due to Health Promotion capacity within their assigned portfolios.

The Partnership will continue to strengthen their VKEW approach in 2023, by ensuring an equity lens is applied. In 2022 schools were mapped by levels of relative advantage, so as to prioritise our resources in 2023 in an equitable manner.

Working in partnership across a catchment can help more organisations access Vic Kids Eat Well. Consider who you could work with to encourage your local organisations to register: Join today - Vic Kids Eat Well.

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