By Hannah Bowden - Programme Director BetterPoints
(in Volume 27)
The following article gives an overview of the BetterPoints Birmingham Active Parks Programme case study that was presented at the ORN research seminar. The title of this presentation was “Combining digital tools with incentives and social engagement to understand urban outdoor recreation.”
BetterPoints deliver programmes and technology in the rapidly evolving environment where digital tools are increasingly being deployed in urban outdoor spaces to help motivate positive choices and deliver sustainable behaviour change.
The Birmingham Active Parks BetterPoints programme Pilot started in partnership with Birmingham City Council’s Wellbeing team, Sept 2014. It employs digital technologies (email, social media, web portal) and a smart phone app, combined with incentivised activities across a range of demographic groups, to motivate specific shifts in behaviour. GPS has been used to track the results and data visualisation and reporting inform greater personalisation. The programme started in parks and is extending to elsewhere in the city e.g. Wellbeing Centres and schools.
- Capture and measure activity that fell outside of the scope of structured projects
- Demonstrate the value to public health of “informal” activity in the city’s parks including walking, running, cycling and simply visiting the park.
- Incentivising users to increase their levels of physical activity and recording it via a smartphone app.
The app is gaining in popularity:
- Registrations increasing month on month 15 in month one to over 230 in January 2016
We are engaging hard to reach groups:
- More than 50% of participants in the Active Parks programme are from the top 30% most deprived areas (IMD)
We are helping those most in need:
- 53% of participants are from the top 30% most deprived health domain bands (IMD)
“Knowing that the sooner I’ve finished a run or a walk the quicker I’ll have accumulated enough points for another voucher is often enough to get me out of the house when I’m struggling to stay motivated. It’s definitely helped me to be more active and I feel so much better on it.” Member, Birmingham
Results and Visualisation
The following charts show how BetterPoints’ data can be visualised for further analysis.
Walking is the activity that has increased the most over the course of the programme. High street vouchers are more popular than donating.
Heatmaps are available for walking, running, cycling and park visits:
The pilot BetterPoints Birmingham Active Parks programme has delivered insight into informal and unstructured activity in the City’s parks. The data is evidenced based and can be used to demonstrate the value of outdoor recreation to meet the public health need of increasing physical activity. Recommendations for programme development include targeting those groups in the most deprived health deciles of the IMD and incentivising change over time up to the optimal activity levels of 150 minutes per week, rather than rewarding activity per se.
BetterPoints is the customer brand used by BetterPoints Limited, an evidence-led sustainability, health and social behaviour change technology company. It was founded in late 2010 by a group of like-minded social investors and entrepreneurs who saw a rapidly growing need in UK towns and cities to positively motivate greater sustainability and social behaviour, whilst also encouraging and motivating volunteering, charitable and neighbourly involvement.
Our vision is to create local self-sustaining programmes that deliver sustainability, carbon reduction, improved resident self-health care as well as community cohesion. BetterPoints is a UK Limited Liability Company with a 100% owned UK CIC (Community Interest Company) subsidiary.
About the Author
Hannah has a background in Psychology and nearly two decades of experience working in strategy, innovation, business development, digital marketing, and web development in the software and regeneration sectors. Currently Programme Director for BetterPoints, managing the roll out of behaviour change interventions and in the UK and central Europe.