Over a third of adults in England do not do the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week (Sport England, 2019). One in four women and one in five men are physically inactive, doing less than 30 minutes of moderate activity per week. The impacts on our health are wide ranging and ultimately cost billions to the healthcare system and the wider economy.
There are many reasons for low levels of physical activity. These include: lack of spaces in which to be active, poor public transport and individual circumstances such as caring responsibilities.
The charity Active Gloucestershire aims to increase people’s levels of physical activity across Gloucestershire. It has created a programme of activities called ‘We Can Move’. We Can Move is a whole systems approach that brings together public, private, voluntary and community organisations to develop a shared understanding of what causes physical inactivity. This shared understanding is used to help bring about change.
We Can Move has recently started supporting the Gloucestershire Community Building Collective. This is a project in Gloucester, which works directly with local people through ‘Community Builders’. Community Builders get to know local residents and work to encourage connection and mutual support among neighbours, as well as the development of resident-led projects and activities. We hope that these activities will lead to increased physical activity, both directly, as residents develop new physical activity-related projects in their neighbourhoods, and indirectly, as residents benefit from higher levels of engagement in local activities and issues.
We will evaluate the impact of this new project in two areas of Gloucester.
Between November 2020 and November 2021, we will run four Ripple Effects Mapping workshops to help us understand what impact the programme is having on the community. We will look at intended effects and unintended effects of this work.
We will also carry out 10-20 interviews with people involved in this project. These interviews will help us understand how this impact on the community was achieved and what helped to drive it.
This work will:
For We Can Move, Active Gloucestershire and the Gloucestershire Community Building Collective, we will provide feedback on what is learned via a continuous improvement framework. This is where the feedback helps to improve how the project is run in the future.
We will also share what we learn from this work, both nationally and internationally.