What they do: The UK’s Alexandra Rose Charity is partnering with the London boroughs of Tower Hamlet and Lambeth to launch the 12-month pilot Fruit & Veg on Prescription program. These two boroughs have high rates of poverty, chronic diseases, and health inequalities. Weekly vouchers to spend on their choice of fruits and vegetables at local markets are given to 122 low-income individuals who either have or are at increased risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or mental health conditions. Tower Hamlets participants can also attend monthly group education sessions to learn more about nutrition and health.
Outcomes that are being measured include:
- The quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables consumed on a daily basis
- Self-reported effect on overall diet and activity levels
- Changes to health and well-being
- Doctor visits
- Impact on the broader household.
How they do it: Participants are identified by staff at the Bromley by Bow Centre in Tower Hamlets and the Beacon Project in Lambeth, two organizations that connect community members to health and social services. In Tower Hamlet, participants receive £6 ($7.30) per week plus £2 ($2.43) for each additional family member, and vouchers can be used at retailers on Roman Road and the Chrisp Street Market. In Lambeth, participants receive £8 ($9.73) per week plus £2 for each family additional member, and they can use their vouchers at retailers in West Norwood, Streatham, and Brixton Market.
Mission: To examine the impact of a fruit and vegetable prescription program on diet-related diseases and food insecurity.
Major Funding: The London Borough of Lambeth Public Health team, the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Public Health team, Impact on Urban Health
Annual Budget: £250,000 (equivalent to $304,814.75)
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect health: The program is thought to be the first large-scale produce prescription program in the UK. The hope is to expand it across the UK after the 12-month pilot has been completed and evaluated.
Locations: West Norwood, Lambeth; and the northeast region of Tower Hamlets
Core Programs: Produce prescription program
Number of staff and volunteers: 16
Areas served: Tower Hamlets and Lambeth, London, UK
Year Started: 2022
CEO: Jonathan Pauling
Rachel Measures, PR Account Manager
Phone: +44 07883 875765
- Fresh Fruit and Veg Prescribed to Low-Income Families in UK Trial (The Guardian)
- Fruit and Veg Prescribed to Low-Income Families in Bid to Tackle Food Poverty (Mirror)
- Fruit and Veg Prescribed to Low-Income Families in NHS Trial (Independent)
- Fruits And Vegetables Will Be Used As ‘Prescriptive Medicine’ During Trial In Two London Boroughs (Produce Business UK)
- Lambeth Fruit & Veg on Prescription Project (Alexandra Rose Charity)
- Press Release: Fruit and Veg on Prescription Pilot Launched to Tackle Ill Health and Food Poverty (Alexandra Rose Charity)
- Tower Hamlets Fruit & Veg on Prescription Project (Alexandra Rose Charity)