BetterPoints motivated Birmingham citizens to use the city’s parks

Michael Grimes - 17 February 2017

BetterPoints motivated 80% of previously inactive people to become active when Birmingham City Council commissioned us to encourage healthier living.

The council’s Wellbeing team needed to demonstrate the value of ‘informal activity’ that fell outside the scope of structured exercise. They collected insights into the socio-economic profiles of park users, the relationship between activity in parks and Indices of Multiple Deprivation, activity levels by group and individual changes over time.

The team commissioned our services to motivate behaviour change for healthy activity and encourage people to make the most of the city’s many parks, whether by running, cycling, walking dogs or simply exploring the outdoors with their family.

We gave them a web portal branded for their Active Parks programme, an app for their citizens to capture data and reward them for using the parks, a reporting dashboard, stakeholder engagement and project management. We also gave them an extensive monthly dataset, which they could cross-reference with their Customer Knowledge and Corporate Strategy team.

Birmingham City Council could now perform valuable economic analysis of early intervention on a range of health and social issues. The success of the pilot led to a partnership with the city’s Corporate Strategy team to lay the groundwork for a multi-year programme across the whole city.

The programme was so successful that what started as a six-month pilot in 2014 kept going for two years.

In that time, programme participants burned a total of 35 million calories, traveled 1.6 million miles and made 12,000 park visits. 47% of them were from highly deprived groups (measured by cross-referencing postcode data with Indices of Multiple Deprivation), 50% said their overall health improved and 66% said BetterPoints made them more active.

Over four months, 80% of the research group went from inactive to active as defined by Sport England.

'Inactivity is a major concern for us in Birmingham and we are on a journey to understand what we need to do to shift behaviour to get people more active,' said Karen Creavin, Head of Birmingham Wellbeing Service. 'Part of that journey of behaviour change has been in the work we have done with Betterpoints. Their approach moved 80% of the research group from inactive to active, and generated data that was extremely valuable in relation to how people use their parks.'

Our system is evolving rapidly and can respond effectively to pretty much any behaviour change challenge that’s thrown at it.

To find out how we can help you motivate positive changes in behaviour, simply drop us an email.