We’ve been getting to know Millbrook to find new ways to increase physical activity levels.
We often work with specific groups of people who are least likely to be active. But there are certain places in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight where a higher than average percentage of the community are inactive.
We wanted to test a different way of working with one of these communities to increase physical activity.
We wanted to engage a community in a place and work with local people to increase physical activity.
We chose to work in Millbrook, Southampton. Active Lives data showed that 33% of residents in the area were inactive, compared to a national average of 21%.
We knew that physical activity would be a long way down some people’s priority lists. So, instead of starting with physical activity, we started from what matters to the community.
At every step, we are focusing on what is strong and not what is wrong.
Instead of starting with physical activity, we started with what matters to the community.
We have adopted an asset-based community development approach, which puts communities in the driving seat. Local people with energy and passion are the significant assets that can make a big difference to local communities.
From the start, we’ve spent time understanding what goes on in Millbrook. We’ve identified the assets of individuals, associations and institutions that form the community. And we’ve listened to the stories of people that we’ve met.
Many people we’ve spoken to have lived in Millbrook all their lives and are passionate about the place. This is a very different story to the one that the statistics tell.
Statistically, people in Millbrook live 12 years less than those across the rest of Hampshire. Over a quarter of children are obese at the age of 11. 68% of the community live with long term health conditions that limit their everyday lives.
Many people we've spoken to have lived in Millbrook all their lives and are passionate about the place.
We held a party and invited some of the people we knew were doing great things in the community. We celebrated their contribution and asked them to join us to make Millbrook even better.
People were proud of their community. But they told us there were things they’d like to improve. More things for young people to do and reducing anti-social behaviour on green spaces were mentioned consistently.
We’re now bringing together organisations who are working in the Millbrook area to form a joint approach and share resources. We’re working towards a shared purpose – something that binds the community and provides a focus to drive positive change.