Here at the Whitley Pump offices where we sit all day, every day, in front of our computers, with the curtains drawn and a pile of empty coffee cups in the sink, we thought we should have a look at what Active Reading was all about. The council’s online consultation only runs until 14 August so we thought we had better get our skates on.
Reading Borough Council (RBC) is using the Active Reading consultation to learn “how can we help you lead active and healthy lives?”
One in three adults in Reading do not take part in the minimum recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a week. Obesity – particularly amongst young people [under 16s] – is a real concern and remains a health priority… The Council is particularly keen to hear from people who are not currently active to find out what barriers prevent them from leading healthier lives. The Council also wants to hear from people who are active, what works for them and what they think could be improved.
The online form is more survey than consultation. It is anonymous and has multiple choice questions with only a couple of opportunities to expand on responses.
The questions ask about:
- what you think about exercise,
- how much exercise you do,
- where you exercise,
- age, gender, employment status, disabilities and ethnicity.
There are questions like “which of the following best describes your current attitude towards becoming or being physically active?” Possible answers range from “not on my radar” to “sticking with it”.
It seems that by physically active, they mean a bit more than walking as far as the kitchen or bathroom, or even across to Greggs to buy a vegan sausage roll and a London Cheesecake. Would walking to the top of Garnet Hill to look back at the view of Katesgrove count?
The survey includes the following definitions:
- moderate intensity activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer than normal,
- vigorous intensity activity which is hard enough to make it difficult to carry on a conversation.
There are pop-up windows asking supplementary questions. For example, depending on how you answer “would you like to do more physical activity or exercise?”, you are prompted for a further explanation.
If you have responded that you use leisure centres or parks for exercise you are asked to say which ones.
Question 19 asks “is there anything else you would like to bring to our attention that either stops you undertaking physical exercise or using the leisure facilities in Reading?” and there is an opportunity to explain why in your own words.
As well as the online consultation, which ends on 14 August, RBC are carrying out face-to-face surveys across the town and they are meeting key focus groups in the community for a further month.
The results will be used to help create a future vision for sports and leisure in Reading and will be published in the autumn.