A council has been honoured for its work in bringing down the rates of children’s tooth decay in the borough.

Blackburn with Darwen’s Public Health team were recognised at the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) Awards.

The ceremony was held at the Association’s Annual Conference in London, where more than 70 Directors of Public Health (DsPH) came together to discuss how to ease the impact on public health of the cost-of-living crisis and climate change.

In 2019, 51 per cent of the borough’s five-year-olds had decayed, missing or filled teeth – the highest proportion in England.

Under the leadership of director of public health Abdul Razaq, the borough published a five-year Oral Health Improvement Partnership Strategy.

This was in partnership with Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, dental care provider AP Smilecare and Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living.

Blackburn with Darwen is now no longer the local authority with the highest rate of dental decay for five-year-olds in England.

Mr Razaq said: "This award is a well deserved national recognition of the work of the Public Health team and all our partners who have worked with immense commitment and dedication towards our goal to reduce the levels of child tooth decay.

"It was a massive privilege and honour to be able to accept this award on everyone’s behalf. Creating healthy smiles is a special gift for the health and wellbeing of our future generations."

Executive member for public health, prevention and wellbeing, Cllr Damian Talbot, said: "This is excellent news and raises the profile of the exemplary work in Blackburn with Darwen and I am delighted that we have won this award.”

Councillor Julie Gunn, executive member for children, young people and education, and the chair of the Oral Health Strategy Group, added: "This is absolutely wonderful news and is a real testament to the hard work and tireless commitment of Public Health’s Oral Health Strategy Group and all our teams and partners.

"There is still work to be done of course, but we are making big strides to tackle this issue and make sure all children in the borough have healthy teeth and good oral health.”

DsPH are nominated by their peers and colleagues for the awards, introduced in 2022 to mark the 175th anniversary of the first ever public health official.