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Evaluation of the 2001 active recreation scheme : final technical report

posted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Tower, Cadeyrn GaskinCadeyrn Gaskin, T Morris, Michael Spittle
This research was commissioned by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) as part of Victoria University’s responsibilities associated with the Evaluation of the 2001 Active Recreation Scheme. The purpose of this report is to provide the detailed documentation of the research covering the review of literature, research methods and results, discussion and conclusion.

VicHealth has identified physical activity as a key priority area for health promotion and has stated that it will contribute to increasing levels of physical activity in Victoria by supporting the development of a comprehensive health promotion approach that combines environmental, community, and individual-level strategies. VicHealth’s Active Recreation Scheme is one of the key strategies for increasing physical activity participation levels in the community. A specific VicHealth prerequisite for the projects was a partnership approach that would address the needs of a specific target group. Each project was formed by at least three partner agencies. The projects were located across Victoria with 12 projects based in metropolitan Melbourne and 15 projects in regional and rural Victoria.

The main aim of this research was to evaluate the 2001 Active Recreation Scheme. Data were collected in three stages. First, 11 projects were selected in order to achieve representation from different geographic locations (i.e., metropolitan, regional and rural), socio-cultural target groups (e.g., Koori, other minority groups), and other equity related demographics (i.e., age and gender). The site visits in February 2002 were conducted to gain an understanding of how the projects were progressing and to become aware of any issues with respect to the achievement of project outcomes and the operation of the partnerships. Second, a focus group with the representatives of the 27 projects was facilitated in March 2002, in conjunction with VicHealth, to explore ways in which barriers to recreation participation could be minimised and what strategies were effective at increasing recreation participation. Third, in-depth interviews were conducted in June 2002 with 19 agencies that represented both the lead agencies and partner agencies from eight of the 11 projects that were included in the site visits. This report focuses on the findings from the research, with particular attention to results pertaining to minimising barriers and increasing support for recreation participation, and partnership development.

The combination of the site visits, the focus group, and the interviews provided unique insights about how the projects were progressing and how the overall program was delivered. Consistently through the evaluation, the success of the programs has been identified. The projects’ staff reported they were meeting their objectives and achieving the outcomes that VicHealth identified in the program aims. The key target groups of youth, older adults, rural and remote and economically disadvantaged Victorians were gaining access and participating in sport and recreation programs.

Much of the success of the programs was based on clear recreation program design principles, such as participative planning, clear goals and objectives, good communication, developing community partnerships, establishing/building appropriate staff expertise and gaining access to necessary resources. Projects that were putting these principles into practice were generating successful outcomes. The resources provided by VicHealth for these projects were an important catalyst for generating these results. The research also identified some strategic options to guide community groups to better develop and manage their partnerships.

A community report that provides the main outcomes is available from the VicHealth Website. Visit the VicHealth website for more details –



Victoria University

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.



Publication classification

A6.1 Research report/technical paper

Copyright notice

2003, Victoria University

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