Image showing man bending down to select fruit in a supermarket

Healthy living in the Thamesmead

Through our superzones partnership with the Greater London Authority, we want to create healthier places for children, young people and their families to live, learn and play.

Thamesmead is located in the east of our borough and is a priority area for the Council to reduce unfair and avoidable differences in health and wellbeing. This is a vision supported by Peabody, which is one of the main landowners in the Thamesmead area.  

On Thursday 29 February, local business owners and community organisations came together with representatives from Peabody, local ward councillors Olu Babatola and Averil Lekau, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Economy, Business and Skills Mariam Lolavar, and Cabinet Member for Health and Adults’ Social Care Denise Scott-McDonald, for a briefing event about improving access to healthier food for families in Thamesmead’s Arnott Close area.  

Through our Good Food Retail programme, the Council has worked in partnership with retail specialists Rice Marketing to engage with the two convenience stores in Arnott Close. Both stores have a strategically important role in the area and have been supported to improve the access and affordability of healthier options for their customers, as well as foster long-term partnerships that will support these businesses to grow.  

Both businesses in Thamesmead (Tropikana and Londis) have been successfully accredited as a result of the support from Rice Marketing and the Royal Borough of Greenwich to achieve the required standard through the improved availability of healthier options. Collaboration has been key to the success of this work. 

It has become socially acceptable and even expected for convenience stores to stock and sell a significant amount of unhealthy food. The Royal Borough of Greenwich is one of a growing number London boroughs that recognises the role of good food retail in improving health inequalities.  

This project has proven that the approach works. The healthier options range has so far increased by 15%, and both retailers are continuing to work to source healthier ranges. 

The owner of Tropikana Convenience Store on Arnott Close has invested over £16,000 into improvements for his store, showing his commitment to his community and their health. 

Tropikana owner Charles Ormoighe said: 

“We are investing for the long term. The support from the council through the superzone intervention has made a massive difference as they have matched funding for my new chiller for fresh fruit and vegetables.   

“I’ve been here for 20 years now, and I know how important it is to support the health of local residents. I have also been given a new perspective on my shop and its business plan.” 

Next door, the owner of Londis has invested into a wide variety of healthier options for his customers and increased ranges for different communities such as African and Eastern European. Londis fruit and veg range grew by 30 lines as part of the investment made by the retailer. 

Londis owner Jitendra Patel said: 

“This is a great opportunity to bring business into the local area and provide for the community. We want to provide healthier options for customers of all backgrounds and nationalities. 

“We are very proud to be part of this scheme”. 

Councillor Denise Scott-McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Adults’ Social Care said:  

“Having good health is the foundation to living a happy life. It is fantastic to see businesses in Thamesmead prioritise the health of their customers with support from the Council, and recognise that investing in healthier options is vital in preparing for the long term. This approach works – if convenience retailers stock healthier products, they will sell.  

“This initiative helps meet several of the objectives set out in the Our Greenwich corportate plan, including people’s health supporting them in living their best life, children and young people reaching their full potential, and developing networks with communities, key partners and businesses to meet need and address challenges together.”  

Councillor Averil Lekau, Deputy Leader of the Council, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Environment and Transport, and local ward councillor said: 

“Thamesmead is a great place to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle. From walking, cycling and swimming, to fitness classes and team sports, there’s something for everyone to try. I am so pleased that residents in the area can now access a healthier range of food on their doorsteps, rather than having to travel to do so.” 

Gez Kallaghan, Community Investment Manager at Peabody said:  

“Working in partnership with the Royal Borough of Greenwich, local shop owners and other community organisations has been key to understanding the health and wellbeing challenges in the Moorings community, so that we can try to support people with their long-term health.  

“Input from the local shop owners was invaluable. They really engaged in the process, and we hope that they’re proud of the progress that’s been made. These changes are going to be of huge benefit the community – especially the children and young people who visit these shops daily on their way to and from school.” 

The Council is also now continuing its partnership working in Arnott Close by allocating levelling up funding to improve accessibility in the area.  

For more information about the work that the Royal Borough of Greenwich is doing to improve the health of residents around food and healthy eating and to get involved, visit the Good Food in Greenwich website and  Live Well Greenwich website.