Active Maribyrnong Evaluation – Final Report

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Tower, John ORCID: 0000-0003-3907-3306, Craike, Melinda ORCID: 0000-0002-7374-1286, Brandner, James Karl and McDonald, Katie (2017) Active Maribyrnong Evaluation – Final Report. Project Report. Maribyrnong City Council, Melbourne, Victoria.


Background. The Active Maribyrnong (AM) program is an initiative of the City of Maribyrnong (COM), which strives to improve resident’s health and well-being through physical activity (PA) participation. COM’s recreation vision is to have “A community that actively participates in a diverse range of accessible recreation pursuits in safe environments that achieves improved health and social benefits and builds community harmony” (Maribyrnong City Council, 2009, p. 26). AM is a key initiative of the COM Recreation Strategy. AM’s target groups include females, older adults, and people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds. The purpose of this evaluation was to evaluate the impact of key AM programs on longer-term PA participation, mental health, community connectedness, pursuit of other activities and physical health and enjoyment; and to identify recommendations for future evaluations of AM. Evaluation format. This evaluation examined the impact of the Get Active! Expo, Spring into Summer Series, Parkrun Maribrynong, AM Grant and CALD Swim Program. An online questionnaire gathered information from participants in the Get Active! Expo, Spring into Summer Series, and Parkrun Maribyrnong programs. In-depth interviews were used to collect information about the AM Grants and CALD Swim Night Programs. Results. A total of 279 responses were received for the online questionnaire, with approximately 230 useable responses for analysis. The AM programs appeared to: • Increase respondents’ PA levels; however, the majority of participants did not currently meet recommended levels of PA; • Provide programs that were enjoyable. Participants particularly valued participating with others of diverse backgrounds; • Have a positive influence on mental and physical health; however, the programs were not likely to result in friendships outside of the program. Sixteen interviews (eight for each program) were conducted with AM Grant recipients and CALD Swim Night Program participants. The programs, in general, were successful as they influenced ongoing PA participation and improved mental and physical health. Better promotion of the AM Grants Program would help this funding to reach low-income families. The CALD Swim Night Program provides a key opportunity for CALD communities to enjoy swimming with families and friends. There is scope for more formal activities to be incorporated in the CALD Swim Nights. Conclusion. The data indicates that AM improves the health of the community by promoting and encouraging PA. A range of recommendations to improve and extend the AM program in the future are provided. Recommendations. Key recommendations for the AM program include: • Continue to target non-physically active residents and encourage residents to achieve recommended levels of PA; • Assist AM participants to learn more about the positive impacts of PA for their mental health; educate participants about the mental health benefits of participation in PA and ensure that the skill level of activities matches the participant’s skill level to facilitate increased self-confidence; • Provide AM participants with opportunities to socialise outside of structured programs. Encourage friendship building and social connections as a key part of the activities and overall AM program; • Assist AM participants to learn more about the health benefits of PA participation. This could be achieved by increasing awareness of health benefits or encouraging self-monitoring of fitness and strength indicators; • Develop criteria for assessing families who most need the AM Grants; • Use additional strategies for promoting the AM Grants (e.g., through COM networks, word of mouth, local newspapers) Provide longer term funding so that children can continue participation and achieve ongoing benefits of participation;. • Consider including formal activities as part of the CALD Swim Nights, such as swim lessons; and provide more activity opportunities for the participants such as access to the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre gym; • Explore opportunities to include more participants in the CALD Swim Nights. Recommendations have also been made to improve the quality of future evaluations. These include: • Complete pre and post program data collection to determine the impact of the program on participants • Conduct research to assess residents’ overall levels of PA to assess the impact of AM on the whole community.

Item type Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords Maribyrnong, physical activity, City of Maribyrnong Recreation Strategy
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