NHS Blackburn with Darwen: Vitamin D uptake

How can we increase uptake of Vitamin D supplements for children under 5?

Although Vitamin D supplements are available free of charge in the Borough of Blackburn with Darwen (BwD) uptake remained low, with an average of just 17 courses distributed per month. Our team was commissioned to increase uptake of free Vitamin D supplements to reduce instances of rickets in white and South Asian children under the age of 5.

Community insight

Using a blend of quantitative and qualitative research techniques with both communities and stakeholders, our team unearthed key actionable insights around service provision, low awareness and fear of overdose.

A cross-cultural approach

BwD is a well-established multi-cultural community with a high proportion of families of South Asian descent. The intervention was developed to respond to this context, with tailored approaches to cater for the needs of 3 distinct cultural groups.


A community-based communications campaign was developed to connect with all cultural groups. Featuring a core concept tested with all segments and messages translated into English, Gujurati and Urdu, it successfully raised awareness of the issue and the scheme being provided to tackle it

Partnership building

By engaging stakeholders from across the early years agenda, it was possible to leverage existing channels and services to connect with our communities in the most cost-effective way possible.


  • Increased distribution of Vitamin D supplements by 6,753%
  • Reduced the number Vitamin D deficient  people in BwD by at least 2197
  • Reduced NHS costs by at least £2500 per case of rickets prevented

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