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Evaluating England Netball’s walking netball programme

We are leading the evaluation of an England Netball programme delivering walking netball sessions in collaboration with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI).

England Netball and the NFWI announced a partnership in 2018 that is seeing walking netball sessions provided to WIs across the country. The project is aimed at encouraging WI members to stay active and take part in a team sport which is fun, sociable and rewarding. The WI is also hoping to learn more about the social benefits that the sport can bring, such as reducing loneliness and isolation.

The project uses a mixed methods design including surveys, focus groups, interviews and objective field tests for physical performance. The team will implement the RE-AIM framework to assess the programme’s reach, how well it is implemented and adopted, and the long-term effects of the programme.

The evaluation, due to be published in 2021, will look at sources of support and whether coaches and peers affect the quality of motivation among participants. It will also look at links to social wellbeing, so how the programme impacts on relationships and social networks, loneliness and mental health. Physical performance measures including sit-to-stand exercises and a four-minute walk test will be used to measure changes in fitness levels.

The project is being led by Dr Florence Kinnafick, working with Dr Stephen Bailey and Dr Andrew Brinkley from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University.