‘Parks for Sport and Recreation’ Third Phase Evaluation of Impact Research Report

MacFadden, Jo and Longhurst, Glynis (2014) ‘Parks for Sport and Recreation’ Third Phase Evaluation of Impact Research Report. UNSPECIFIED, March 2014. (Unpublished)

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Abstract or Summary

Executive Summary Sport NZ develops partnerships with national sport and recreation organisations, regional sports trusts, local authorities and other relevant organisations. In conjunction with Sport NZ goals and purpose of investment, a ‘Parks for Sport and Recreation’ project was implemented in June 2010, in the form of collaborative project by Sport Waikato and Hamilton City Council (HCC), along with Wintec and University of Waikato and other relevant groups, as part of their ‘Active Communities Strategy’. The communities included in the ‘Parks for Sport and Recreation’ project were Fairfield, Crawshaw and Melville as they were identified as low socio-economic areas that each had a Sports or Recreation Park available. This project began by an attempted literature search for similar programmes and projects in other countries. Unfortunately, we were unable to find readily available, published articles on specific park, sport and recreation projects within the project time restrictions. The following is a report generated as the third phase of evaluation of the ‘Parks for Sport & Recreation’ project through participant observations in all three parks, as well as interviews with key stakeholders. This is provided to HCC to inform the assessment of project performance, effectiveness and sustainability, along with providing further recommendations for future projects of a similar nature. The three key findings of this report are: • Increased Sporting and Active Participation Participants believe that sporting and recreational activity had increased significantly in all three parks. Participants in all three parks had also experienced increased sporting recreational and more diverse physical activity, highlighting the positive impact of the project. • Increased Positive Community Perception and Engagement Participants reported an increased positive perception of use, enjoyment and vibrancy of all three parks. This included significantly increased levels of pride for each park, suggesting community ownership and buy-in, which will assist the ongoing sustainability of park changes. • Reduced Crime All three parks reported, through stakeholder and police interviews, decreased negative behaviours, vandalism and crime. Survey results indicated that stakeholders and residents believed their park was safer since the park changes were implemented. The key recommendations based on these findings are: • Increased community involvement Community involvement has been commented on by multiple stakeholders from all parks as being critical to community engagement and ongoing sustainability of project changes. Since the implementation of the project this had increased, however participants indicated that these successes could be further developed. This could be achieved through initiatives such as more community-led art which involves local community members (this could also help decrease incidences of tagging). • Increased and well-maintained facilities and equipment Stakeholder reported that increased numbers of people and groups utilising community parks, means that improved toilet and water facilities should be a part of any future initiatives. Youth focus groups and other stakeholders discussed the need for well-maintained equipment installations in community parks in order to ensure ongoing sustainability and reduced on-going costs. Method Park activities were observed in Fairfield, Crawshaw and Melville Parks at two seasonal points. These points were in November and February in order to provide observations of seasonal (spring and summer) use data. Observations were conducted through the researcher scanning particular park locations at certain time points. These observations were conducted on one-day of a weekend. Weekends were chosen due to recreation park use and time of year. It was initially planned to undertake hourly observations, however due to low user activity continual observation was undertaken at Crawshaw Park and Fairfield. Melville was kept to hourly time point notation due to large user numbers. Activities, ages and gender were noted in which to inform type of users and activities. Informal (unstructured activity such as recreational play) or formal (structured, organised activity such as sporting club practise) activities were also noted if relevant. Statistical Survey A survey was conducted at a community event for Melville and Fairfield parks whilst a residents’ survey was conducted in the case of Crawshaw Park, as no event was scheduled within the deadline constraints. These were in the form of closed-structured questions asked of participants. A 3-point Likert-scale was utilised to gain added value in response data sets, such as ‘Very important/Important/Not Important at all’. Stakeholder Interviews Qualitative interviews of stakeholders were conducted for each of the three parks. Six interviews were conducted per park. Contact details for each participant were provided by the Project Coordinator, though two were gained by ‘snow-ball’ acquisition through another provided contact. These interviews were arranged with leaders of each stakeholder group where possible and lasted between 15-30 mins each. Each interview was recorded and transcribed for later thematic analysis. Youth Focus Group A qualitative focus group was conducted with youth between the ages of 8-12yrs, who were users of Crawshaw Park. All were able to provide signed parental consent forms. This was the only focus group able to be held within time constraints. It was originally hoped that one focus group for each park would be held, however, organising participants that were also able to give consent or get parental consent within this timeframe proved impossible. This focus group lasted for approximately 30 mins with participants asked open-ended semi-structured questions. Analysis Data collected was transcribed in the case of interviews and focus group, and all data was coded, categorized and analysed to produce an informative picture of community impact of the three-park/year project. Observational data gave present use statistics. Statistical analysis was hoped to consist of correlational calculations between for instance, level of improved usage and enjoyment, with importance and pride. However, little baseline data was available in which to compare. In saying this, some informative conclusions can be drawn from observational and survey data particularly when compared to qualitative data gained. Thematic analysis was utilised for qualitative interviews and focus group. Data was coded into common themes of importance for reporting purposes. The themes were identified through issues found in the literature review and indicated levels of significance in common stakeholder opinion, of park activity, project impact, community perceptions, community engagement, ongoing sustainability, and barriers to success and sustainability of the project objectives. Ethics This project was ethically approved by Wintec’s Human Ethics in Research Committee, All interview and focus group participants were fully informed and gave written consent. The younger focus group participants all supplied parental written informed consent. Findings The findings of this report are presented below. The first section outlines features and findings of each of the three specific parks. The second section discusses features and findings common across all three parks. Lastly the third section provides concluding statements in regards to the findings.

Item Type:Report
Keywords that describe the item:Industry report,Hamilton Parks, Sport NZ
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
Divisions:Schools > Centre for Sport Science and Human Performance
ID Code:3195
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Deposited On:03 Jun 2014 21:26
Last Modified:04 Jun 2014 23:58

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