Free swimming : impact on physical activity behaviour of a borough-wide population

Allen, R 2012, Free swimming : impact on physical activity behaviour of a borough-wide population , MPhil thesis, University of Salford.

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Introduction: Appropriate pricing strategies are believed to reduce economic barriers to physical activity and enhance population-level participation.
Aim: This thesis aimed to investigate the influence of a change in pricing strategy for swimming pool usage over a three year period (2008-2011).
Method: A mixed methods approach was adopted incorporating secondary data analysis of a leisure management database (Study 1); a questionnaire-survey for users and non-users of the Free Swimming Initiative (FSI) (Study 2; «=529); and semi-structured interviews with management associated with the FSI (Study 3; «=17); and scheme users and non-users (Study 4; «=34).
Results: Study 1 indicated a positive response to a change in pricing strategy (+15.1% change in visits), a significant finding against a national decline in swimming participation, although the novelty of free swimming declined over time (-12.1%). There was an adverse reaction to the mass FSI among the 65 and over (-19.2%) which concurred with the apparent user group clashes documented in Studies 3 and 4. Based on the outcomes of Studies 2, 3 and 4 it seemed unlikely that new users were attracted to the FSI owing to the under resourced marketing of the service; the inconvenience of Borough pool closures; and the particular nature of swimming which encompasses high barriers to participation such as proficiency and the requirement for a specialised facility. Studies 3 and 4 concluded that the impact of the FSI on the legacy of swimming was uncertain, yet total visits were lower upon the reintroduction of the entry-fee (-5.4%) suggesting the FSI may have damaged previously established trends.
Discussion/Conclusion: Findings suggest that entry-fee is a key element in the decision to exercise as there was a positive participation response to a change in pricing structure. Participation increases could have been maintained with the development of an appropriate swimming structure to entice new swimmers and maintain the involvement of existing users.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Contributors: Dugdill, L (Supervisor) and Flannery, O (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2021 13:48
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:28

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