Swim for Health Evaluation: interim report

Evans, Adam and Sleap, Mike (2007) Swim for Health Evaluation: interim report. Project Report. Amateur Swimming Association.

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Swim for Health Evaluation: Interim Report, January 2007.
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Abstract

The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), along with a number of partner organisations, has been implementing a health intervention in the region of the City of Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. This report represents a summary of evaluation carried out upon this scheme during its first year.

Descriptive statistics of the groups with whom evaluation research has taken place are presented. A number of issues begin to emerge from these; the predominance of British women in all groups, the short distances travelled on average by the groups to leisure centres and the prevalence of swimming as a favoured leisure time activity among several groups. These statistics also allude to the differences found between swimming and non-swimming groups, which are discussed below.

Analysis of the timescales taken to implement activities with each of these groups was undertaken. This highlights a number of issues, including; a) the longer timescales required in building completely new partnerships compared with existing ones, b) that the level of ‘buy-in’ among partner organisations can have a large effect on the timescales taken to implement services and c) that a number of developments had to be held back early in the scheme as needs assessments were completed.

The location of Swim for Health activities to date was examined. This (examination) demonstrated the geographical centrality of current services, which are largely centred on the City of Hull. This was ascribed to several reasons: a) the utilisation of existing service provision (e.g. GP referrals), which led to specific sessions in Hull, but more general actions across the East Riding, b) the relative ease of access to certain centres for Swim for Health staff compared with others and c) the level of ‘buy-in’ and support of centre managers, which tended to be high in many centres in the City of Hull.

Analysis of the processes inherent in the development of the scheme was undertaken. The ‘Programme theory’ of January 2006 was re-appraised in light of the ‘Project Brief’ produced in July 2006. A number of developments are noted, for example the introduction of a fourth gateway group. Impact theory, Service Utilisation plan and the Logic Model produced in the ‘Programme theory’ are re-appraised and the scheme’s developments situated within each. Groups with whom work was discontinued are included. These analyses highlight how work in several areas has progressed well (e.g. GP referral Hull, Surestart), while in others there remains much to be done (Employees).

The methods used to formulate goals are described. Goals were defined by stating a target percentage of a specific group’s population that could access a certain session.

Appraisal of objectives in the Project Brief of July 2006 was completed. Comments were made regarding each. Again, this analysis highlights how work is at an advanced stage for several gateway groups (e.g. People with a range of health needs), whereas with others it is lagging behind (e.g. people in full time employment). Comments are made regarding the need to make goals more specific, defensible and measurable. In addition, the need to make one group in particular more distinct (people aged 50+) is noted in order to make accurate assessment. Potential weaknesses in the intervention are also posited, including the need for adequate staff training courses and the difficulty of engaging with employing organisations.

A number of ‘lessons learned’ from the project are noted in brief. These include reasons for; a) the variable level of uptake and knowledge of the scheme among staff in partner organisations, b) the large proportion of women involved in the scheme (attributed to both the large number of ‘aqua aerobic’ type sessions introduced and the demographics of the groups currently contacted to date), c) the need to bridge the wide disparities in attitudes between current participants and non-participants in order to encourage ‘new’ participants and d) how a number of environmental and social barriers have been tackled in the scheme (self-consciousness and self-monitoring, time constraints and cost).

A number of future plans are also outlined in brief. Developments are outlined for each gateway group in turn. Again, this highlights how work is at an advanced stage for some groups, whereas for others it remains at an early stage. Also, the potential for involvement in groups not already within the project’s remit are noted (e.g. school taster sessions for Y10 and Y11 students).

Recommendations and conclusions are also drawn from the report. The need to produce more measurable goals is noted, as is the need to work in a wider geographical area. The need to allow adequate allocation of time for developments to occur is also made clear, as is the need to factor in the ‘lag’ between session implementation and increasing participation. This must be considered if the impact of the scheme is to be accurately assessed. Caution is also advised about future expansion from the project remit. Expansion could well detract from the level of impact on existing target groups should resources be redirected.

The degree to which the project depends upon partner organisations and their staff is also noted, as is the level of power held by individual centre managers in directing the amount and type of activities in a locality. The need to share best practice across the region and enlist the support of these staff is paramount. This is linked to the greatest challenge faced by the scheme; that of changing perceptions of aquatic activity in both staff and participants.

Item Type:Paper or Report (Project Report)
Additional Information:The Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), along with a number of partner organisations, has been implementing a health intervention in the region of the City of Kingston upon Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire. This report represents a summary of evaluation carried out upon this scheme during its first year. Descriptive statistics of the groups with whom evaluation research has taken place are presented. A number of issues begin to emerge from these; the predominance of British women in all groups, the short distances travelled on average by the groups to leisure centres and the prevalence of swimming as a favoured leisure time activity among several groups. These statistics also allude to the differences found between swimming and non-swimming groups, which are discussed below. Analysis of the timescales taken to implement activities with each of these groups was undertaken. This highlights a number of issues, including; a) the longer timescales required in building completely new partnerships compared with existing ones, b) that the level of ‘buy-in’ among partner organisations can have a large effect on the timescales taken to implement services and c) that a number of developments had to be held back early in the scheme as needs assessments were completed. The location of Swim for Health activities to date was examined. This (examination) demonstrated the geographical centrality of current services, which are largely centred on the City of Hull. This was ascribed to several reasons: a) the utilisation of existing service provision (e.g. GP referrals), which led to specific sessions in Hull, but more general actions across the East Riding, b) the relative ease of access to certain centres for Swim for Health staff compared with others and c) the level of ‘buy-in’ and support of centre managers, which tended to be high in many centres in the City of Hull. Analysis of the processes inherent in the development of the scheme was undertaken. The ‘Programme theory’ of January 2006 was re-appraised in light of the ‘Project Brief’ produced in July 2006. A number of developments are noted, for example the introduction of a fourth gateway group. Impact theory, Service Utilisation plan and the Logic Model produced in the ‘Programme theory’ are re-appraised and the scheme’s developments situated within each. Groups with whom work was discontinued are included. These analyses highlight how work in several areas has progressed well (e.g. GP referral Hull, Surestart), while in others there remains much to be done (Employees). The methods used to formulate goals are described. Goals were defined by stating a target percentage of a specific group’s population that could access a certain session. Appraisal of objectives in the Project Brief of July 2006 was completed. Comments were made regarding each. Again, this analysis highlights how work is at an advanced stage for several gateway groups (e.g. People with a range of health needs), whereas with others it is lagging behind (e.g. people in full time employment). Comments are made regarding the need to make goals more specific, defensible and measurable. In addition, the need to make one group in particular more distinct (people aged 50+) is noted in order to make accurate assessment. Potential weaknesses in the intervention are also posited, including the need for adequate staff training courses and the difficulty of engaging with employing organisations. A number of ‘lessons learned’ from the project are noted in brief. These include reasons for; a) the variable level of uptake and knowledge of the scheme among staff in partner organisations, b) the large proportion of women involved in the scheme (attributed to both the large number of ‘aqua aerobic’ type sessions introduced and the demographics of the groups currently contacted to date), c) the need to bridge the wide disparities in attitudes between current participants and non-participants in order to encourage ‘new’ participants and d) how a number of environmental and social barriers have been tackled in the scheme (self-consciousness and self-monitoring, time constraints and cost). A number of future plans are also outlined in brief. Developments are outlined for each gateway group in turn. Again, this highlights how work is at an advanced stage for some groups, whereas for others it remains at an early stage. Also, the potential for involvement in groups not already within the project’s remit are noted (e.g. school taster sessions for Y10 and Y11 students). Recommendations and conclusions are also drawn from the report. The need to produce more measurable goals is noted, as is the need to work in a wider geographical area. The need to allow adequate allocation of time for developments to occur is also made clear, as is the need to factor in the ‘lag’ between session implementation and increasing participation. This must be considered if the impact of the scheme is to be accurately assessed. Caution is also advised about future expansion from the project remit. Expansion could well detract from the level of impact on existing target groups should resources be redirected. The degree to which the project depends upon partner organisations and their staff is also noted, as is the level of power held by individual centre managers in directing the amount and type of activities in a locality. The need to share best practice across the region and enlist the support of these staff is paramount. This is linked to the greatest challenge faced by the scheme; that of changing perceptions of aquatic activity in both staff and participants.
Keywords:Aquatic Activity, Evaluation, Sport
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C600 Sports Science
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:5986
Deposited By: Adam Evans
Deposited On:21 Jul 2012 08:25
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 09:11

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