The brief was to devise a programme to help them reach this goal. Working closely with local communities, our experts in exercise science developed a series of interventions to increase physical activity levels in those with a low BMI. The BeActive programme provided weight management groups, one-to-one support, training, an interactive DVD, open access to swimming and a community garden to get participants moving.
Working with colleagues in the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science (CSES), the SIRC team designed and implemented a programme of consultation with local people. This involved developing bespoke research tools and undertaking consultation in a wide variety of settings including at local shops, train stations, colleges, places of employment and at a Barnsley Football Club home game. A key priority of the programme was to ensure that the activities on offer were the right activities, offered in the right ways, and in the right locations to meet the needs of local people. Widespread consultation and stakeholder engagement helped to achieve successful programme design. Mapping of current and future provision also supported the planning and delivery of sport and physical activity based on identified needs.
The programme successfully delivered 2,540 hours of physical activity to over 7,000 Barnsley residents, with the open pool sessions attracting 25,200 swimmers. The interactive DVD was a particular highlight, with over 5000 distributed to the target groups.
Our subsequent evaluation of the programme reported 96% of participants were motivated to become more active, and 93% were more physically active after interacting with the DVD. The numbers participating in half an hour of physical activity three times per week increased from 19.1% to 22.4%, with a reduction in obesity levels of 0.1% - bucking the national trend. The results also showed a positive impact on the weight, blood pressure and body composition of participants.