Launch of Growing Well, a Toolkit to Help Combat Childhood Obesity

Thursday, 6 September, 2018

Libraries Connected, The Reading Agency and ASCEL Launch Growing Well, a Toolkit to Help Combat Childhood Obesity

In early 2017 ASCEL commissioned The Reading Agency to research recommendations for a possible children and young people’s strand of the Universal Health Offer.  The Universal Health Offer is a strategy which expresses the public library contribution to the positive health and wellbeing of local communities.  It is delivered by Libraries Connected in partnership with The Reading Agency and is one of the six Universal Offers available in English public libraries.

The report, “Developing a Children and Young People’s Strand of the Universal Health Offer” was published in March 2017.  A recommendation from the report for library support for children’s (5-11 years) health and wellbeing is:

  • Activities and events promoting healthy living, physical activity and oral health 

ASCEL commissioned Diane Dixon Associates to research and develop a range of creative and engaging family learning activities to be used by library staff for events focussing on combating childhood obesity and that can be accessed from the ASCEL website.

The toolkit, Growing Well is now complete and ready to use.  Sue Ball, Chair of ASCEL said, “we are delighted with this toolkit created by Diane Dixon Associates as it will provide library staff with the information and resources they need to confidently run fun activities for families in the library.  The resources also encourage further activity and learning in the home.  The activities will allow library services to support local health priorities around combating childhood obesity.  Thank you to Arts Council England and Libraries Connected for funding this project, to Diane Dixon Associates for creating the toolkit content, to library colleagues for their contributions and to Shane Anderson our ASCEL web designer.”   

Julie Oldham MBE, Head of Library and Museum Services Bolton Council said, “The Growing Well Toolkit is a brilliant addition to the Universal Health Offer. By providing worked examples of ‘deliver ready’ activities for children and families it will help public libraries to tailor their offer to their local health priorities. It will also help to suggest, create and strengthen local partnership delivery. All this will save time and effort in planning event programmes and, more importantly, endorse the contribution that public libraries make to healthy and happy communities.”

Debbie Hicks, Creative Director at The Reading Agency said, “It is fantastic to see such a positive and practical outcome from our research for ASCEL mapping the priorities for a children and young people’s strand to the public library health offer. Our report clearly identified the need for and value of library based events and activities promoting healthy living amongst 5 to 11 year olds. The Growing Well Toolkit will ensure that public libraries are able to build their contribution to the health and well-being of local children using quality assured, best practice tools and techniques supported by local partnerships.”  



The Growing Well toolkit can be found on the ASCEL website 

ASCEL is the national network of senior managers in Children’s Public and Schools’ Library Services leading on excellence in library services for children and young people.

Libraries Connected is a membership organisation, representing the heads of library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Libraries Connected takes a leading role in the development of public libraries through advocating for the power of libraries, sharing best practice and helping to shape the public library service now and in the future.  The vision is an inclusive, modern, sustainable and high quality public library service at the heart of every community in the UK.  Libraries Connected is a registered charity, number 1176482 

The Reading Agency is the leading charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment.  Working with partners, their aim is to make reading accessible to everyone.  The Reading Agency is funded by Arts Council