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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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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?’


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Active England green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

Phase 1: Key results: Changing ‘visitor’ profiles

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


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Changing visitor profiles green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

Phase 2: Catchment profiles


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Active England green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

Phase 3: Evaluation: benefits to project ‘users’


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Active England green spaces for physical activity

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

More people

More sustainable


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Active England green spaces for physical activity

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 green spaces for physical activity

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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