Enventure Research was commissioned by Wiltshire Council to undertake a multi-phase research project aimed at understanding attitudes, behaviours and motivations relating to physical activity and sport on behalf of Wiltshire Council. The Council has been working with Sport England to improve levels of physical activity in five communities in the county which have multiple issues such as high unemployment rates and poor physical health that may correlate with levels of inactivity. Initially Wiltshire Council undertook a scoping exercise to identify five target locations for intervention by examining the multiple indices of deprivation and areas where there are low levels of physical activity. These locations were Calne, Chippenham, Melksham, Salisbury and Trowbridge. Within these locations, ten wards were identified as a focus for intervention.
Following this initial scoping exercise, the Council appointed Enventure Research to undertake a literature review of existing research sources to extract key insights and identify areas of focus for a subsequent consultation with people in Wiltshire. Following this literature review, Enventure Research undertook primary research with the general public and people who work with the public to gain a detailed understanding of current levels of physical activity, barriers to participation and the key motivators for individuals to engage in physical activity.
A mixed quantitative and qualitative approach was taken to the research in the form of two online surveys (one for adults aged 16 and above and one for young people aged 11-16), five focus groups and five telephone depth interviews with Wiltshire residents and 20 telephone depth interviews with professionals working for the Council and for partner organisations, such as local sport charities, healthcare organisations and schools.
The adult online survey was publicised via a number of sources, including posters displayed around the target communities, on the Wiltshire Council website and via social media. It was also promoted by the Council’s partner organisations. Although the survey was open to everyone living in Wiltshire, promotion focused on the ten wards identified as a focus for intervention. Towards the end of fieldwork, 200 telephone interviews were also conducted with residents from these communities to boost the number of survey responses. Local schools were engaged to promote the young people survey to their pupils. The surveys were live from 12 May to 19 June 2017. During this time, 1,280 survey responses were received to the adult survey and 478 to the young people survey.
Qualitative research fieldwork took place between 30 May and 20 June 2017. In total, 32 members of the public took part in focus groups and depth interviews, and 20 professionals took part in depth interviews. Enventure Research’s experienced team followed specifically designed discussion groups to allow all relevant topics to be covered. The discussion guide was designed to revisit areas covered in the survey in order to stimulate discussion and explore the reasons behind the results in greater depth. Public participants were recruited via the online survey, where they had the opportunity to provide their contact details if interested in taking part in further research. Wiltshire Council assisted with recruitment for the professional Council and partner interviews.
The qualitative and quantitative primary research findings were presented together in a comprehensive report to Wiltshire Council. The literature review conducted as part of the first phase of the research was provided to the Council separately prior to primary research taking place. The report provided a number of useful recommendations for Wiltshire Council, establishing residents’ attitudes towards and understanding of physical activity and sport, the barriers they face which prevents them from doing more and ways in which the Council can support and encourage residents to take part more frequently. The findings will inform current and planned interventions and support future funding applications.