Hammersmith & Fulham Council held its first-ever “hackathon” this weekend. The event brought together people from all walks of life with one simple aim - to find innovative ways of improving young people’s health.
Working together at an interactive day-long event at Hammersmith Town Hall, H&F’s Healthy and Fit Hackathon asked people to generate ideas while competing for the prize of having their plans put into action by the council.
“The room was buzzing with really practical and interesting ideas,” said Cllr Vivienne Lukey, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care, one of the judges at Saturday’s H&F Healthy and Fit Hackathon.
“The hackathon has been a fantastic way to connect with residents who have real knowledge and fascinating insights about improving the health of young people. It was great to work with Public Health England and the NHS on the event.
“And it was especially exciting to see such a wide variety of ages and expertise taking part, giving the event a fantastic energy.”
Young people, parents, healthcare and policy professionals, developers, designers, coders, social entrepreneurs, food bloggers, chefs, teachers and students were among those putting their brain power to the test at the event itself, with people from across the borough and beyond having the chance to follow the event and participate via social media.
Different groups worked on different challenges including making healthy food more popular, improving participation in exercise, helping families with young children build healthy habits for life and helping teenagers become more healthy, fit and body confident. Each group were aided by experts in health and technology.
The winning pitch involved expanding physical activities in parks, with accessible events with personal trainers and outdoor fitness equipment.
The H&F Healthy and Fit Hackathon winning group comprised local young people El-Hajj Malik Bellot-James and Arbesa Bela, alongside Gurdip Bindra, who works in health and safety for H&F Council, local mum Lisa Slaughter and H&F Deputy Youth Mayor Joshua Yirenkyi.
They will work with experts to turn their idea, which they called Fun Free Fitness, into reality.
“I didn’t think we were going to win because there were a lot of really well-thought out ideas,” said 14-year-old El-Hajj Malik.
“It was a shock and just amazing. I’m definitely looking forward to working on our idea. I’m very excited about what will happen.”
The People’s Choice Award, voted for by everyone involved, was won by a group for their Phood & Fitness app which shows the amount of exercise you need to do to burn off the different food you eat.
The judging panel was made up of Cllr Lukey, H&F Youth Mayor Aminata Koroma, Fulham FC Foundation health co-ordinator Hugh Thompson, health manager at QPR Alex Gordon and H&F director of public health Mike Robinson.