Hackathon winners announced

Feast hackathonHack for Food, Hack for Good - London was the second of a series of hackathons in Europe designed and organised by OpenDot for FEAST - Food systems that support transitions to healthy and sustainable diets. This European project aims to promote and support the transition towards healthier and sustainable eating habits and against food poverty.

For the London edition of Hack for Food, Hack for Good, OpenDot collaborated with King's Health PartnersHIN - Health Innovation Network South London and NHS South East London Integrated Care System. The aim was supporting people with learning differences and their families/carers to live healthier lifestyles and adopt healthier diets, by bringing together partners to identify step-changes to improve health and reduce health inequalities.

It’s been recognised for many years that people with learning differences (LD) are at increased risk of being overweight or obese compared to the general population.

This is due to a variety of reasons - such as poorly balanced diets and very low levels of physical activity, lower socio-economic status, genetics, medication, barriers to accessing and engaging with healthcare, limited nutritional knowledge, reliance upon carers/support workers, differences in perception of weight/shape, and barriers to alternative options for enjoyment and autonomy.

This risk, in turn, increases the likelihood of a range of health problems (e.g. diabetes, heart failure and strokes) and adverse psychological health and wellbeing.

An analysis of GP data across England showed that whilst there was lower prevalence of ‘overweight’ in the LD population compared to the general population (27% compared to 31.8% respectively) there was a higher proportion of Class III obesity in the LD population (37% compared to 30.1% respectively). 

Work undertaken across south east London has identified that people with LD are not receiving effective and tailored support to manage their weight. For example, most local authority commissioned tier 2 services specify that reasonable adjustments must be made to be able to include and achieve good outcomes for people with learning differences. However, it is not always possible for service providers to effectively do so, given that providers are usually not experts in supporting and working with adults with learning differences, and the relatively tight budgets that they must deliver their services within.

Introducing the hackathon

As part of the Feast project, OpenDot acts as a facilitator. The hackathon format is designed as the most effective way to identify a solution, starting from one or more "challenges". It allows involvement from different disciplines in a challenge that takes place in a limited period of time, emphasising collaboration to lead to a satisfactory solution.

For the participants, the hackathon represents an opportunity to learn new methods of collaboration and communication through the effective and concise presentation of their project.


The winning team won a mentorship and acceleration program with OpenDot for prototyping the idea.

22 participants, divided into four teams, took part at Health Foundry. During the first two days of the event, the teams began to work together, to explore the context of intervention, to identify the problem to be solved, interview users with learning difference, and to engage with mentors. On the third day of the event, each team held a public pitch in front of an international audience and the jury to present their idea. On March 1, the winner was announced publicly.

The London edition was particularly rich in ideas, and the concepts presented were convincing and innovative. For this reason, the jury decided to award the victory equal merit to two teams.

Cooking Connections

Method-kit to co-design structured inclusive and engaging food activities, fostering hands-on and impactful learning experiences for people with learning differences.


Physical tool kit with inclusive kitchen basics (like whisks, clear chopping board etc.), instructions, and recipe baking sheets with visual cues for exact portions of the ingredients.

Find out more on the OpenDot website.