Blogs Sugar Smart UK

When dreaming spires get Smart on Sugar

Oxford United FC's saturday kick off at home to Northampton wouldn’t be the kind of place where you’d expect to see a new health campaign launching. But that’s at the heart of what the Oxford Sugar Smart campaign is about – reaching out where health campaigns haven't dared to venture in the past.

Kicking off with a Great Sugar Debate to get people engaged at the match and beyond, this is not just about fine words and good intentions. The commitments are already coming in thick and fast.

Oxford City Council will be signing the Local Authority Declaration to show commitment to sugar reduction in the city, including limiting advertising of sugary drinks on council-managed noticeboards and within leisure centres, and supporting the availability of free tap water at leisure centres and other sites.

Their next target will be the Universities and encouraging local businesses to sign up to become Sugar Smart, with actions including traffic light sticker systems on canteen/café drinks menus, making 80% of the drinks offered sugar free and introducing a 10p sugar tax on sales of sugary drinks in canteens/cafes.

Led by Good Food Oxford in partnership with the City and County Council, Doctors and Dental Services this is the kind of team working that has epitomised the Sugar Smart campaigns that have launched to date. Oxford is the 13th of these local campaign to launch across the UK, with another 30 places already looking to follow suit, and already these local campaigns have got over 400 organisations to go Sugar Smart, from schools to hospitals, community groups to workplaces.  And more than you would think have been partnering with sports clubs and leisure centres. The Lewisham and Greenwich campaigns have got Millwall and Charlton football clubs going Sugar Smart and both adopting a sugary drinks tax. Bristol and Plymouth got their local rugby and football clubs on board, with players pushing the message wearing Sugar Smart tops and doing video diaries.

So who’s behind this all? There would be a lot of truth in saying Jamie’s team and the charity Sustain have been lending a helping hand nationally, and they’ve been working with the Sustainable Food Cities network, Public Health England and many more.

But the reality is that those who’ve really made it work are people like you. People prepared to put in a little time here and there to change your local community. People like Fi Argent – a Jamie Oliver ambassador who masterminded the Bristol campaign. No matter how much or little time you can put in, you can play a part.

So how can you get involved in Sugar Smart?

Run a local campaign 

Sign your organisation up to Go Sugar Smart

Volunteer with your local campaign or keep in touch

For more information on Oxford’s campaign click here.

This blog first appeared on Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution page.

Published Monday 13 November 2017

Sugar Smart UK: Want your local area to become Sugar Smart?

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Since joining Sustain in 2004, Ben has led or managed multiple campaigns and networks and more recently coordinated the organisation’s strategic development. This included working with Jamie Oliver’s team to get the government to adopt a sugary drinks tax, and setting up the award winning Children’s Health Fund which piloted the levy with restaurants. Ben helped to set up the Sustainable Food Places, Sugar Smart and Food Power networks, and has co-authored many reports, including the Case for Local Food with the RSPB.

Ben Reynolds
Deputy Chief Executive

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