An evolving model of best practice in a community physical activity programme: A case study of "Active Herts"

Shelby Carr, Amanda Burke, Angel Marie Chater, Neil Howlett, Andy Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Community-based physical activity programs typically evolve to respond to local conditions and feedback from stakeholders. Process evaluations are essential for capturing how programs are implemented, yet often fail to capture delivery evolution over time, meaning missed opportunities for capturing lessons learned.
Methods: This research paper reports on a staged approach to a process evaluation undertaken within a community-based UK 12-month physical activity program that aimed to capture change and adaptation to program implementation. Twenty-five one-to-one interviews and 12 focus groups took place over the 3 years of program delivery. Participants included program participants, management, and service deliverers.
Results: Program adaptations that were captured through the ongoing process evaluation included changes to the design of promotional material, program delivery content, ongoing training in behavior change, and the addition of regular participant community events. The authors address how these strands evolved over program delivery, and how the process evaluation was able to capture them.
Conclusion: The pragmatic evaluation approach enabled changes in response to the local context, as well as improvements in the program to be captured in a timely manner, allowing the delivery to be responsive and the evaluation flexible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555–1562
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number12
Early online date6 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • community approaches
  • pragmatic evaluation
  • process evaluation
  • public health

Cite this