New Healthier Choices Award launched to support breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and infant feeding mothers in Blackpool

New Healthier Choices Award launched to support breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and infant feeding mothers in Blackpool

As part of the Healthy Weight Strategy, Blackpool Council Public Health, as part of Better Start, have been working together to consider new ways of supporting breastfeeding, bottle-feeding and infant feeding mothers in the Town.

In England and Wales breastfeeding mothers are protected by the Equality Act 2010, which means it is illegal for anyone to ask a breastfeeding woman to leave a public place, such as a cafe, shop or public transport.

The Junior Healthier Choices Award scheme commissioned by Public Health and Better Start leaders supports UNICEF’s Baby Friendly Initiative. It’s designed to support an already established organizational culture that protects, promotes and continues to develop services in order to sustain the Baby Friendly standards.

After exploring a range of ideas it was decided that the best way forward would be extend the already established Healthier Choices Award scheme being successfully promoted and administered by Blackpool Council. To date over 125 Awards have been presented and the scheme has been recognised nationally for it’s efforts in helping to improve the food and drink offer in the out of home sector. This scheme is just one of the fantastic initiatives delivered by the council, who are part of the Food Active network and were the first local authority to sign up to the Local Government Declaration on Healthy Weight in 2016.

Businesses that sign up for the new scheme and meet the criteria will be presented with a certificate and colourful window sticker to advertise that they are a Baby & Infant Feeding friendly venue.

Criteria for the Junior award include: Making smaller portions of healthier menu items appropriate for infants available; a quiet area for breastfeeding, bottle-feeding or infant feeding; free tap water for mum to help prevent dehydration; free tap water or milk for older children and restricted sales of energy drinks.

The Children’s Centres in Blackpool were the first to be presented with the Award followed by the Nibbles Community Cafés at Anchorsholme Library, Blackpool Independent Living Centre and Carleton Crematorium. A number of small businesses have also welcomed the initiative as positive way that they can support Blackpool Children to achieve a healthier start. A list of Award Holders and details of how to apply for the Award are available on the Junior Healthier Choices Webpage on the Council website.

Families and breastfeeding mums should look out for the Junior Healthier Choices Logo in windows round the Town.

Clare Law, Senior Development Manager at Blackpool Better Start said

“Blackpool Better Start has been working with Blackpool Council Public Health team to look at new ways of supporting Blackpool parents with infant feeding. Breastfeeding mums can sometimes feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, and we want to make sure that all parents feel confident and relaxed to feed their babies and children in places that are family friendly. We are very pleased to see businesses sign up to the Junior Healthier Choices scheme who will offer local families nutritious and portion controlled options that will benefit the children’s health and well being.”

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