Evaluation of WOCBA (women of child bearing age) dance initiative
Summary of findings
The dance Pilot was positively received, overall. It was considered to be the best ‘physical activity’ option for girls in the area – although there was some interest in other sports/activities (yoga, aerobics). There was some minor resistance around personal engagement (i.e. a great idea but “will I do it, given the circumstances of my life?”):
- Those who are working do not have much time
- Those who are in youth groups try to attend but don’t always keep up with activities
- High level of personal and familial ‘chaos’ seemed to be commonplace
- Young girls not necessarily all being supported in their organisation by parents (some of whom are absent, unwell, died or are very busy working)
- Suspicion of meeting new people outside own (very small) social network
Taster sessions (taking place over two or three days in each location in school holidays) were generally liked, though detailed response was very scant - very hard to establish any sense of an ‘experience’ (that would then be recounted easily to others in the peer network to fuel word of mouth (WOM)):
- Highly patchy attendance across the four taster locations - Unclear as to level of consistency in marketing activity, so impossible to evaluate this element
- Venue seems to be key in establishing credibility and legitimacy - Needs to be a currently recognised Youth site already; the Young Batley Centre was already known and was deemed suitable
- Marketing support needs to be more “permanent” - Posters, or leaflet board, rather than leaflets in hand
- Exact structure of programme needs to be thought about - Local areas are tiny; localised taster sessions immediately creates expectation of localised event, but pilot then required new step for individuals - to move outside their local area
Within the delivery of the pilot, there are some points of real success:
- The dance lessons and the relationship with the dance teacher offer a point of clarity and kindness in sometimes quite complex backgrounds
- The show was a significant point of motivation and a great marker of achievement for those who took part
- The dance lessons themselves and the YBC were suitable for local girls
- The marketing support elements (Tshirts and water bottles were highly visible and liked by those who received them)
- Leafletting and posters reached some hardest-to-reach audiences
There is an appetite for things to do:
- The main elements of the pilot delivery seem fit for purpose; there is little (in terms of ‘the product’) that needs to be changed.
- Other products that could be delivered include rounders, aerobics and trampolining or yoga
Within the dance pilot, the question of how much health-related information can be given is one that needs to be addressed:
- For those who learn, the experience of dancing appears to be delivering some emotional benefits – increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- However, food education levels are still extremely low, diets are very heavy in carbohydrates (almost exclusively so in some cases) and very low in vegetables.
- Even without discussing smoking/drinking, some basic food education would be both acceptable and useful
However, the “engagement and retention funnel” (from Formative) of the young girls still needs input and attention
- For the 34 girls in total who were reached by this pilot, there has been at least an introduction to dance
- Ideally, there needs to be a strong, proactive impact from the assistant, if he/she is retained – in order to spot conflict and help resolve
- Unlikely to be possible to address if the role of the assistant is filled by someone working only four hours a week – and living outside of Batley
- A young Batley person, embedded in the community, is likely to be more effective
Importantly, the engagement and commitment mechanics either need to be met (with significant resource implications), or the attendance needs to build naturally under its own momentum (slowly)
- Efforts to ‘regroup’ at intervals through the pilot would help
- “chaotic” lifestyles are likely to always affect attendance
The Specific objectives of the research for each of the pilots were to:
- Describe the pilots as they unfolded, including how participants experienced them, and draw out learning about how implementation can be improved upon when the projects are rolled out
- Assess the extent to which each of the pilots has achieved its aims, such as changes in attitudes, motivation and behaviours amongst participants
- Assess the extent to which any unintended outcomes have occurred (both positive and negative)
- Explain (theorise) the mechanisms through which any changes observed (intended or otherwise) have occurred and the factors that have helped or hindered the success of the pilots
- And thinking about future evaluation, maybe ‘leave the ladder down’ with regard to researching longer-term behavioural changes?
The borough of Kirklees lies between Manchester and Leeds and comprises rural, urban and suburban areas. Some of these areas are highly affluent and some of them are extremely deprived and insular (e.g. Batley and Dewsbury).
The largest ethnic group (besides White British) is of South Asian origin. They make up approximately one in ten of the Kirklees total inhabitants and up to a quarter or a third of towns such as Batley.
Across the North Kirklees area, rates of infant mortality are higher than the national average (infant mortality being an important indicator of wider health issues such as poor diet, smoking, lack of physical exercise and foetal genetic issues) There are 14,400 women “of childbearing age” (11-45 years of age) who fall into the highest deprivation socio-economic groups (C2DE).
NHS Kirklees is working with a range of partners to address these issues via a programme of activities under the banner of WoCBA (Women of Child-bearing Age).
The programme employs a team of Health Improvement Practitioners. They work in two ways:
- Ensuring that the needs of women of child bearing age are being considered and acted on by the NHS Kirklees Food, Smoking, Alcohol and Physical Activity Health Improvement teams
- Developing communication and programmes specifically designed for women of childbearing age.
NHS Kirklees and Kirklees Council jointly commissioned COI Strategic Consultancy to develop a social marketing strategy which went beyond just communication and promotion and linked messages to services and interventions.
In October 2008, a presentation was given by COI Strategic Consultancy which informed the strategy for three social marketing pilots targeted at three separate segments of the WoCBA high-risk target.
- Girls transitioning from compulsory education C2DE, 15-17
- Newly pregnant mums and women likely to become pregnant, C2DE 15-25
- Mums of young children, C2DE 18-50
‘Dance’ was the intervention aimed at young females 15-17 i.e. using dance to raise physical activity levels and to provide an alternative away from smoking and alcohol activity. Research was commissioned to evaluate this activity.
Research was commissioned to evaluate a WOCBA pilot intervention, aimed at young females 15-17 using dance to raise physical activity levels and to provide an alternative away from smoking and alcohol. The research informed a wider social marketing strategy conducted by Central Office of Information.
The pilot took place as follows:
- Conducted with 19 girls aged 15-17 C2DE to build the pilot
- To design format of pilot: workshop, 2 x tranches of post-back self-completion questionnaires, tele-depths
- Pre-summer: Implementation of pilot started with marketing materials, dance tutors and venue agreed.
- August: Taster sessions
- September to December (with show): Pilot dates
- Initial records of attendance - 22 x Registration forms returned
- Feedback forms at early pilot stage - 6 x Feedback forms returned
- Tele-depths of participants/ non-participants - 3 x Participant tele-depths
- 10 x Non-participant tele-depths
- Pre-tasked Face-to-face interviews - 1 x trio with participants, 2 x paired depths with non-participants
- Professionals interviews - 3 x 1 hour face-to-face interviews with delivery partners
Data collection methodology
Other data collection methodology
Self completion evaluation forms