Middlesbrough has been awarded over £4m in funding to help promote healthier lifestyles and tackle obesity. Middlesbrough is one of only nine towns to be awarded the funding for the Healthy Towns Programme and the town’s successful bid focused on a social marketing approach encompassing a town-wide programme of urban farming, improved public resources for recreation, play, walking and cycling, and youth engagement initiatives.
Enventure completed a large-scale programme of customer insight and pre-testing scoping research for NHS Middlesbrough and Middlesbrough Council to inform the Healthy Towns Programme and all 41 initiatives within it.
The main aim of the research was to assess the behaviours, psychographic issues, barriers, blocks and profiles of the target groups to gauge if the projects resonate, have appropriate currency and are attractive propositions ultimately to motivate behaviour change.
The research involved:
- Desk research
- An online survey of schools
- Seven focus groups with school children
- 14 focus groups with adults, including many of the harder-to-reach target groups
- A street survey of over 1,000 residents
- A telephone survey of 150 employers
- Two focus groups with employers
- In-depth interviews with stakeholders
Enventure adapted the methodology to best suit the research audience to ensure that we got the most out of our research respondents.
Enventure’s scoping work provided feedback on people’s awareness and understanding of the Middlesbrough Healthy Towns Programme as well as their perceptions of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, whether they were translating this knowledge into practice, which groups were least likely to achieve this and the range of barriers to achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Research highlighted variations in attitudes between different ethnic, social and age groups and also examined employers’ responses to the proposed initiatives in the campaign and the role they might play in encouraging healthy living.
Enventure’s wide-ranging pre-testing research methods provided responses to the proposed campaign initiatives involving urban farming, enhancing Middlesbrough’s play, recreational and physical environment, promoting active travel such as cycling or walking and youth engagement projects.
Enventure also examined how people received information and how they would prefer to receive it, and analysed their responses to the Middlesbrough Healthy Towns Programme materials.
Benefits to Client
Enventure provided NHS Middlesbrough and Middlesbrough Council with insight, guidance and recommendations on a wide range of issues that will inform further development of the Healthy Towns Programme and the initiatives it focuses on.
Enventure helped crystallize the challenges facing this campaign and pinpointed barriers to improving public health.
The research enabled the creation of possible ways to develop the social marketing campaign to ensure it provides the key motivational messages that will spur the population into action and gave recommendations about how to extend the appeal of the initiatives.
Enventure’s research also highlighted how best to market any initiatives, and suggested different communications approaches, both in terms of messages and channels of communication.