The initiative is designed to improve child health by driving innovative interventions in the areas of wellness, nutrition and play.
With a focus on Poplar, a community close to the Firm’s headquarters in London, Morgan Stanley collaborated with renowned scientist and health expert Dr. Paul Sacher and his research team who ensured that the voices of parents and carers living in the Poplar community were represented in the planning and execution of the programme. The team’s robust evaluation was designed to gain a deep understanding of the sociocultural and physical landscape in the community.
The research team has produced a series of recommendations for the programme’s steering committee to help implement a tailored and sustainable strategy. Members of the steering committee include the East London Business Alliance, Tower Hamlets Public Health, Housing Association Poplar HARCA, Play Association Tower Hamlets, a leading local GP, Magic Breakfast, Bromley by Bow Centre and MyTime Active.
This research, conducted over six months in 2014 working closely with the community and local charity partners, resulted in an in-depth report highlighting key issues, barriers and concerns of the community in the area of child health. Using the comprehensive recommendations in the report, a strategy has been created to help improve the health of children and their families in Poplar.
Some key findings include:
- Families’ wellbeing is impacted as they struggle to access services, including healthcare (e.g., local GP) due to language barriers, information scarcity and lack of consistent health messages
- Culture and ethnicity impact access to child health services & information and often serve as a barrier to community integration
- Residents are keen to gain a better understanding, particularly around nutrition, with many noting the overabundance of fast food and the growing issue of childhood obesity in their families
- Play fosters a culture of togetherness for the family as well as a sense of wellbeing, however many residents remarked that play opportunities for children in the community are limited – an issue associated with developmental and health issues in children
Colm Kelleher, President of Institutional Securities, said: 'Morgan Stanley is committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work. The Healthy London programme in Poplar represents a partnership between a number of different stakeholders, each bringing their expertise and knowledge to help build a programme with the intention of having a significant and longlasting impact on the community. This has been a truly collaborative effort involving a variety of stakeholders and we are looking forward to building on the results of the research to deliver a successful and sustainable programme. I am extremely proud of Morgan Stanley’s involvement in such an important initiative'.
Dr. Paul Sacher added, 'A central finding of our research is that while parents and carers would like to be more proactive about the health of their children, they lack the resources and information to do so, and would welcome up-to-date accessible information that could support them in their health journeys. Previously, solutions have often been provided by top down, imposing programmes and initiatives that do not fit with local needs. By evaluating the issues and solutions that really matter to the community and by implementing our research recommendations, the Morgan Stanley Healthy London Programme is more likely to lead to positive and sustainable improvements in child health'.
As part of the programme, Morgan Stanley has also sponsored a garden at the Chelsea Flower 3 Show called the Morgan Stanley Healthy Cities Garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw. Following the show, the garden will be transferred to a pre-chosen plot in Poplar making it the centerpiece of one of the many community projects there.