An evaluation of the Black Country in Motion: a community led intervention for the engagement of hard to reach, physically inactive communities of the Black Country
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AbstractPhysical activity has been associated with reducing the risk of poor health and improving health and wellbeing. However contrary to this knowledge, physical activity levels remain significantly low with an estimate of 20 million adults being inactive in the UK (BHF, 2017), the cost of which is a suggested £2.8 billion per year to the UK’s economy. Subsequently, those who experience socio-economic disadvantage are more inclined to be inactive. As a means to tackling inactivity within such demographic groups, community-led interventions have been used to engage individuals and increase social cohesion and social capital. However the challenges experienced in measuring the efficacy, effectiveness and impact of real world community intervention have been well documented. Objectives - To evaluate the effectiveness of a community based, community-led physical activity intervention aimed at increasing physical activity Intervention - The Black Country in Motion (BCiM) is a 3 year programme, delivered in areas of high socioeconomic disadvantage in the Black Country area of the West Midlands. UK. The intervention aimed to increase physical activity, wellbeing and social capital. Design of the Evaluation - This evaluation uses a mixed-methods approach comprising of measuring physical activity using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, the examination of change through qualitative analysis (based upon the Transtheoretical model for behaviour change framework), examining volunteerism in these communities and the volunteering physical activity facilitators and process evaluation. Setting - Community facilities and leisure centres in the Black Country Area of the West Midlands, UK Participants - Over a 3 year period, n=1205 participants had registered with the BCiM programme, at the point of analysis n=991 had engaged with the programme. Ages ranged from 12- 84 years and from across the Black Country region. 39.1% (n=387) were male and 60.9% (n=604) female participants. The objective of the intervention was to increase the physical activity of these participants, this was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and through semi-structured interview. Interviews identified the processes of change and psychosocial variables that impacted engagement adherence/drop out. Volunteers - A total of one hundred and forty four volunteers were recruited to deliver physical activity, of whom 22 were interviewed examining narratives and experiences throughout the delivery of the programme. Volunteers were aged 19-62 (SD = 32), 14 females and 8 males. Measuring Behaviour Change and Outcome Evaluation - Quantitative Measures - All participants completed a single item measure at baseline and were required to complete the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) to determine physical activity levels. This was a predetermined measure from funders and measured the duration and intensity of activity. Physical activity was measured at baseline, 3, 6 and 12 month follow ups. Drop out in the research process was significant and at the point of analysis n=73 participants had completed this measure. Qualitative Measures - To determine the effectiveness of the community-led intervention, 5 case studies (including interview data from 11 engaged participants and 12 disengaged participants), examined the processes of change, project efficacy and the psychosocial variables that impacted community engagement. Process Evaluation - A number of physical activity sessions were delivered as planned. Recruitment was challenging and the original target number of participants was not reached at the point of project completion. At the point of analysis, the reach of the project had engaged 991 participants, 36.1% (n=358) of those that had registered and attended at least one physical activity session resided in the target areas of this intervention. The efficacy of the programme was not delivered as intended and the sustainability of sessions was affected by low attendance and attrition. Volunteerism and the Community Volunteer - With current sport policy rhetoric including volunteering and the voluntary sectors impact on sport and physical activity delivery. This thesis examines community volunteering. One hundred and forty-four volunteers were recruited for the delivery of physical activity in this intervention. Drawing on this intervention’s emphasis on community and community volunteering, the principles of volunteerism were explored within these communities. Using semi-structured interviews, the narratives of those who volunteered in the BCiM were examined to identify the impact of this community intervention on developing social capital and community cohesion. Conclusion - The Black Country in Motion was effective in facilitating and enabling social mobility and increases in physical activity with those who were inactive prior to engagement and adhered to the programme. Those that had disengaged from the programme had suggested that the intensity of exercise delivered was challenging and in some instances subsequently sought alternative provision. It is argued that this may be a result of inexperience of the volunteers in their inability to differentiate activities and intensity. Those that were engaged discussed the social bonds that were developed and reaffirmed through their engagement in their communities, however these social bonds were fragile, as experiences within a community were relative to the individual. It is suggested that further investigation in recruitment and retention is required.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
SponsorsBlack Country BeActive
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