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East London – Women and Physical Activity

Influencing women and girls to become physically active in one of the most deprived areas of London.

London Sport together with AudienceNet have been working as partners in a multi-stage research project designed to change how physical activity and sport is perceived, delivered and led by women in East London.

The project aimed to explore the role of local influencers (people/places/platforms) in reaching and engaging less active women in physical activity and sport, focusing on diverse communities and populations where activity levels were known to be below average.

The key outcome focuses on how to engage local institutions and organisations who have influence amongst women and girls in the area and to bring them on board as partners to engage more females from diverse communities in physical activity.

The research informed the development of a segmentation of the local female population, by the most defining factors influencing their approach to physical activity; from motherhood and religious affiliation to how connected women were digitally.

The construction of personas in this way helps to identify the types of channels and influencers best suited to inspire and reach out to less active women in each segment, e.g. places of worship, parenting groups, campaigns over social media etc.

This piece of work seeks to build on London Sport’s existing segmentation of ‘less active’ individuals and while there are overlapping themes, it drills down to personas at a very localised level. 

This project targeted a very specific area but the methodology used throughout this qualitative research is easily replicable amongst other populations in other regions of the capital or beyond.

The findings themselves are likely to map onto many other areas in London or around the country, where demographic and socio-economic factors are similar. 

All of the research outputs available for download have been designed to be user-friendly and actionable for our core partner group, wider partner network on the ground, and the whole sector.

Partner Guidance Pack

Our partner guidance pack has been designed to help any delivery body operating in East London identify strategies and approaches for increasing levels of physical activity amongst women.

Key input and direction has been provided by the partner network including Essex Cricket, West Ham United Foundation, Leyton Orient and London Pulse.

The documents in this pack are all available online (below). They will provide physical activity providers with the following information:

  • Insight into groups of inactive and less active local women, what resonates with them and how to engage them, preferable sessions and interventions.
  • Types of local organisations to approach and how to work with them to create greater levels of physical activity amongst their networks.

Segments and Participant Journeys

Digitally Focused

Digitally Focused

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Busy Mothers

Busy Mothers

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Religiously Orientated

Religiously Orientated

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Community Fixtures

Community Fixtures

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(Click to enlarge the participant journeys).

Case Studies

Throughout the course of this research, a number of local influencers were identified as having the potential to encourage, inspire and enable more women from the areas of Barking and Dagenham, Ilford and Newham to do more physical activity.

These case studies have been created following interviews with the below organisations and are designed to act as guidance for London Sport and its partners when looking to work with each organisation.

Each case study details how organisations or influencers should be approached or engaged with when it comes to the topic of women and physical activity, as well as challenges which may exist to collaboration and any support these organisations might need.

Find out more and Contact Us:

All key materials in our East London – Women and Physical Activity research are available via our Insight Portal.

Learn more about our Insight and Research Consultancy Services here.

To find out more about how this research can be applied, scaled up or replicated across groups or communities you’re working with contact us here.

To access additional support in East London contact our Relationship Manager for the area John.