Hackney council staff go SUGAR SMART
For some inspiration on how your office can go SUGAR SMART this September, check out what council staff in Hackney did to encourage a healthy workplace environment.
Office cake culture can be a challenge for many people, and council public health teams are no exceptions. Here is an inspiring story on what two office teams in Hackney Council did to help cut down on sugary treats during work hours and help staff enjoy healthy snacks while at their desks.
As part of the SUGAR SMART Hackney campaign, all Healthy Workplace Champions at Hackney Council have been invited to encourage their fellow work colleagues to reduce sugar consumption.
Sugar Smart Hackney has developed and shared some workplace resources and an online sugar quiz to help Hackney Council employees get thinking about sugar, its impact of health and how to reduce its consumption.
Jackie Clarke from Hackney Repairs Centre is one such enthusiastic advocate of SUGAR SMART in her workplace. After being trained up as a Sugar Smart Ambassador in March 2018, she started up a workplace fruit scheme for her colleagues to buy fruit as an alternative sweet but healthy snack. The money raised from selling individual fruit is used to buy in more the following week.
In June, Jackie and her colleague Inez Kirwan offered free fruit to promote the fruit scheme alongside SUGAR SMART Hackney's “Ditch the Fizz” campaign in June 2018 to give up sugary drinks for 2 weeks. All the fruit was finished by 8:45am, before many repairs staff headed off to make repairs in Hackney estates. A number of her colleagues also signed up to “Ditch the Fizz”.
As a result of their participation in Ditch the Fizz, and no doubt inspired by healthier snack options, the Repairs Centre is now also planning to get rid of their soft drink vending machine.
As part of the borough campaign, the Hackney Public Health team kicked off their workplace SUGAR SMART activities by surveying all team members to get their ideas and thoughts on how to best reduce sugar consumption at work. They found out the following:
- 60% wanted to improve their eating habits
- 90% said treats being available at work means they eat them when they otherwise wouldn't
- 70% said fruit being available at work means they eat it when they otherwise wouldn't
The team already had a fruit box scheme that charged 20p for a piece of fruit. They noted, however, that charging for fruit, whilst sugary treats are available for free, provided an incentive to eat sugary snacks rather than fruit! All those surveyed therefore agreed to also have a sugary treats tax of 20p, with the money raised used to vary the fruit purchased for the fruit box.
The team also agreed to make individual pledges to reduce sugar and to compile a healthy lunch/snack recipe book to share with others in the team. Staff member Beverly Heath already sets an inspiring example to her colleagues in Public Health to drink more water by filling a huge 1.5 litre bottle with tap water at the start of each day and then finishing it before she goes home.
What can your office do differently to break unhealthy habits? Share with us on Twitter!
SUGAR SMART is a campaign run by the charity Sustain. SUGAR SMART is one of the featured campaigns in the UK's Sustainable Food Cities network.