The Active Forest Programme is a partnership between Forestry Commission England (FCE) and Sport England with the aim of encouraging physical activity. Five sites were chosen to run the 3 year pilot programme and an Active Forest Coordinator (AFC) was employed at each site to develop activities. A wide range of core activities such as running and cycling were developed along with a variety of events and new ‘play on the day’ activities that had not been previously trialled by FCE such as table tennis and volleyball. Monitoring and evaluation were critical elements of the programme. Throughput data on the number of events and numbers attending was gathered by AFCs. A short participant survey was run both online and on site (via the use of a tablet computer), and a three month follow up survey was sent to all those who completed the first survey to explore changes in behaviour. Challenges included capturing a representative sample, self-led activities and encouraging a good survey response rate. The programme has been scaled up to more sites across England. Changes have been made to data collection via lessons learnt and new opportunities for the future are explored.
Outdoor Recreation Network > Other Publications > Opportunities and challenges of using technology to gather data in the Active Forest Programme evaluation by Liz O’Brien, Head of Social and Economic Research Group, Forest Research