Project: Active Bucks
Active Bucks started in 2015 and was a key innovation in the approach to promoting physical activity in Buckinghamshire. The aspiration was to deliver a coordinated programme of activities across the county to reach and support as many of the local population as possible, with a particular focus on inactive residents. Although the programme is innovative, the approach utilises evidence-based approaches to physical activity and supporting behaviour change.
The main elements of delivery included four months of community engagement, which engaged with 3,248 residents to identify what activities were of interest to local communities; countywide asset mapping to develop an understanding of the existing local assets that could support the programme; the commissioning 193 six month projects of weekly activity based on activities of interest to local communities and aimed at inactive residents; and a communications campaign, with clear branding and a website.
One of the major successes of the programme was that 64% of the activities were successfully sustained beyond the initial six-month funding period. Ongoing data indicates that activities remain sustained at three and six months beyond the initial funding period 54 Community Champions (volunteers) were recruited and supported Active Bucks through various roles.
Across the 19 Local Area Forums, 620 volunteer hours were recorded. 43% of Community Champions have continued volunteering beyond the Active Bucks Community Champions project, with 75% staying with original Active Bucks sessions that have continued.
The Active Bucks website was commissioned to help drive awareness and engagement in activities. 1,840 activities were listed, advertising both Active Bucks and wider activities delivered across Buckinghamshire. 44,986 unique users visited the website and 673 vouchers were downloaded for participants to try an activity for free.
A comprehensive communications campaign was delivered by a wide variety of organisations, through a wide range of engagement approaches, including social media (reach 479,740), targeted Facebook advertising (engaged 22,000), bright and eye-catching flyers, posters and local newsletters.
Project: Active Herts
Active Herts has provided one-to-one support for over 2,000 inactive (<30 mins moderate to vigorous physical activity per week) adults living in areas of deprivation who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease or suffer from poor mental health.
The project supports individuals using motivational interviewing, health coaching, effective behaviour change techniques, and activity opportunities to increase physical activity levels. It is tailored to meet the participant’s barriers, motivations, goals, ability, health status, and circumstances.
Programme design was informed by academic literature and NICE guidelines (brief interventions: PH44; behaviour change: PH6 and PH49). Four ‘Get Active Specialists’ (GAS) have been trained in motivational interviewing and behaviour change by a registered Health, Sport and Exercise Psychologist.
As the project has grown in success, it has become embedded in a number of condition-specific healthcare pathways and has linked with schemes such as the National Diabetes Prevention Programme. Referring partners also include MIND and IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies).
The Active Herts project has been used as an example of good practice nationally and in Europe. The most recent references were in discussions at a conference in Moldova in March 2018 entitled Health Promotion and Behaviour Change for Non-Communicable Diseases: Latest evidence on what works.
Project: MAN v FAT Football
MAN v FAT Football is for any man with a BMI of 27.5 or above who wants to lose weight, get active and improve their health. There are currently over 4,000 active players nationwide.
The programme itself was designed after founder Andrew Shanahan tried accessing commercial weight loss programmes but couldn’t find anything that spoke to him as a typical UK male who just wanted to lose weight and feel better about himself.
Every week, pre-match, each team weighs in. For every two players that lose weight, an additional goal is added to the team's score. The weigh-in also provides an opportunity for players to speak with their coach, ask health-related questions and receive positive or negative re-enforcement depending on how their week has gone.
Pre-match goals are added to the on-pitch score totals and shared on the league site the following day as the final result. A weight loss league and overall league are shared with teams every week to track their progress and continually motivate them to strive to obtain the overall league titles.