Encouraging under represented groups to use woodlands and green spaces for physical activity
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Encouraging under-represented groups to use woodlands and green spaces for physical activity. Jake Morris and Liz O’Brien Social and Economic Research Group Forest Research Environment, Well-Being and Healthy Lifestyle Staffordshire University 21 st October 2009

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Encouraging under represented groups to use woodlands and green spaces for physical activity

Encouraging under-represented groups to use woodlands and green spaces for physical activity

Jake Morris and Liz O’Brien

Social and Economic Research Group

Forest Research

Environment, Well-Being and Healthy Lifestyle

Staffordshire University

21st October 2009

[email protected]


Active england

Active England

Contents

Background:

  • Health, inequality, green space

  • Active England programme

  • 5 woodland projects

    Research:

  • Methods & headline findings

  • Results for ‘users’ and ‘non-users’

  • Lessons learnt /

    recommendations


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Active England

Health and physical activity

  • 23.6% of adults in England are obese (DOH’s Health profile of England 2008)

  • Based on current trends 50% of women, 60% of men and 25% of children will be obese by 2050

  • Only 37% of men and 24% of women meet recommended level of physical activity (30 minutes of exercise on at least 5 days a week)

Costs of health problems in England

Sustainable Development Commission, 2007


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Active England

Health, inequality and green space

Growing body of research to show that woodlands and green spaces can be beneficial to people’s health and well-being.

BUT, opportunities for healthy exercise, recreation and access to green space are not equally distributed across society

‘Outdoor activities are often associated with white, middle aged, middle class and non-disabled people’. DEFRA’s Diversity Action Plan ‘Outdoors for all?’


Active england3

Active England

The Active England Programme

  • Established in 2003 with £94.8 million from Lottery and Sport England

  • Aim of programme – to increase community participation in sport and physical activity in England

  • Target groups

    • People on low incomes

    • People with disabilities

    • Women and girls

    • Black and ethnic minorities

    • Young people (under 16)

    • 45+ age group

  • 241 projects funded for 3 years


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Active England

5 woodland projects funded

3 ‘Site based’ and 2 Community Forests.

Funding: £500,000 to £2 million per project


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Active England

Forest Research’s evaluation

Methodology

  • Phase 1 – On-site surveys (at 8 sites) to track changes in ‘visitor’ and ‘visit’ profiles for each of the study sites

  • Phase 2 – Spatial analysis to produce a ‘catchment’ profile for each site

    - Comparison between ‘visitor’ & ‘catchment’ profiles -

  • Phase 3 – Programme of qualitative research with ‘users’ and ‘non-users’ from surrounding communities.

    Self–evaluation interviews with project staff.

    Data

    Quantitative – 2,898 questionnaires completed across 8 sites (baseline and repeat surveys)

    Qualitative - 114 people (‘users’ and ‘non-users’) participated in an activity and a focus group discussion


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Active England

Phase 1: Key results: Changing ‘visitor’ profiles

  • Significant increases in visitor numbers at Bedgebury, Haldon & Rosliston


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Changing visitor profiles

Low incomes - Visitors from low income households (<20K) increased at Community Forests.

Site based group attracted more visitors from high income households.

Site Based

Active England


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Active England

Changing visitor profiles

  • Disability - No significant changes in the number of visitors with disabilities, blue badge holders, or those who were registered disabled.

  • Women & girls - The overall proportion of female visitors increased in Greenwood CF from 44% to 57%.

    There were extremely high numbers of females visiting Rosliston, at a ratio of 3:1 compared to males (due to the child friendly activities and facilities provided at the site).

  • BME - All projects showed increases in visitors from Black and Minority Ethnic Groups, with a significant increase for the site based group (1.7% to 5.8%).


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Active England

Changing visitor profiles

Significant increase in the 16-44 age group at site based projects. Due to large investment in ‘family friendly’ infrastructure (creation of play areas, family cycle and walk tracks and equipment for archery, laser quest).

Q: How can a site be attractive to young and older visitors?


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Active England

Phase 1: Key results:

Changing ‘visit’ profiles

Site based projects: Significant increase in cycling, use of play areas and mountain biking


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Active England

Changing ‘visit’ profiles

There were significant decreases in solitary visits and increases in ‘social’ visits for both groupings.

Important because ‘other people’ = key motivating factor for continued participation


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Active England

Phase 2: Catchment profiles


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Active England

Phase 2: Catchment profiles – guaging (under-)representation

Rosliston’s visitor profile revealed a small increase in the proportion of BME visitors, from 0% in 2005 to 3.2% in 2006.

BUT, many visitors are from wards showing a >5% representation of citizens belonging to BME groups.

Conclusion: BME groups still under-represented at Rosliston.


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Active England

Phase 3: Evaluation: barriers for ‘non-users’

Psychological and social/cultural barriers

Physical and structural barriers

NB many barriers lie outside the conventional remit of forest management


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Active England

Phase 3: Evaluation: benefits to project ‘users’


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Active England

How to reach under-represented groups – scatter-gun, or targeted, sustained impact on individuals?

More people

More sustainable


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Active England

Key recommendations

  • Targeted outreach work needs to be supported and adequately funded – as important as ‘project delivery’

  • Volunteers provide a vital human resource and can ensure the sustained impact of projects

  • Users emphasised the high social value of regular and scheduled group activities

  • Often the group itself becomes the primary motivation for continued involvement in the activity

  • Some of the barriers are outside the immediate influence of the organisations running the projects – partnership working is vital in trying to address these barriers


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Active England

To find out more about our work:

www.forestresearch.gov.uk/activeengland

www.forestresearch.gov.uk/peopleandtrees

SERG Conference - April 2010:

www.forestresearch.gov.uk/treesandsociety


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