In recent years, health-related taxes on food and drinks, such as levies on sugar sweetened beverages, have frequently been in the news. The negative impacts of too much sugar in our diets is becoming increasingly hard to ignore, so much so that even the UK government is now considering the possibility of a sugar tax.

For teenagers and young children between the ages of 4 and 10, soft drinks are the largest single source of sugar. A report by the UK government, reviewing the evidence on interventions to help the nation reduce their sugar consumption found that teenagers consume 50% more sugar on average than is currently recommended, which is partly due to the high consumption of sugary drinks.

So how can we encourage more young people to choose water over sugar sweetened beverages? The Children’s Health Fund is offering funding for grants between £500 to £5,000 to projects that have innovative ideas that will promote or provide access to drinking water in public spaces where children and young people gather to learn, play or congregate. Creating easier access to water in public places means that children can quench their thirst for free, and will hopefully drink fewer sugar sweetened beverages.

Organisations that are eligible to apply include UK registered charities, schools, hospitals, housing associations, community groups, local authorities and churches. If you would like to apply for funding for your drinking water project, you will need to complete the pre-qualification checklist.

The Children’s Health Fund was set up in 2015 by Sustain with support from Jamie Oliver. Their aim is to encourage restaurants and cafés to volunteer to add a 10p sugary drinks levy on the non-alcoholic soft drinks with added sugar that are on their menus. The money raised will be paid into the Children’s Health Fund to fund grants such as this.

Sustain is also calling on the government to introduce a 20p per litre sugary drinks duty with the aim of reducing sugar consumption, especially amongst children and teenagers. To find out more about the campaign, visit Sustain’s website.

Photograph: Janet and Phil

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