Your Space Your Say

University of Bath

This report is a summary of the preliminary findings from Annaleise Depper’s PhD research. Annaleise is a PhD Student in the Physical Culture, Sport and Health Research Group at the University of Bath.

Project aims

The aim of the project was to explore young people’s experiences of leisure, active mobility and inequality in Swindon. This project identifies the complexities of active living and the everyday challenges faced by young people.

What do we currently know?

In Swindon, recent reports1 show that the majority of children and young people, aged 5-15, fail to achieve recommended levels of physical activity, and the results are worse for families living in areas of high deprivation. To get everybody active, everyday day1, Swindon Borough Council highlight the need to encourage young people to make “positive choices to lead healthier lifestyles”2.  While Public Health England call upon local governments to deliver “healthy behaviour change campaigns”3. However, in the context of growing disparity, changing behaviours to be more active is still not an easy choice for many young people living in Swindon, and actually accessing the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day  is becoming increasingly challenging. Previous research highlights a range of structural, cultural and social inequalities that young people have to negotiate in their everyday lives4.  This complicates the individual empowerment and freedom of choice  rhetoric we see across policy approaches to inactivity.

A social action approach

In response to rising health inequalities amongst young people in the UK, there  is a need to listen to young people’s voices and experiences of active living.

Social action projects provide great possibilities for individuals to work creatively together and voice local insights in response to community issues.

Between January - September 2017, Annaleise facilitated 3 social action projects with young people, aged 10-17. A total of 12 young people, from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, were recruited through services and charities that support young people living in Swindon.

Over the course of the projects, young people put together a range of creative outputs, such as films, collages, and other visual methods, to voice leisure and broader health related matters that were important to them. Through creative means, young people illustrated their own health concerns and desires for alternative leisure provision in the face of inequality.

Annaleise Depper
Your space your say Summary Report - Depper.pdf7.84 MB
Your space your say - Strategies for Change- Depper.pdf435.29 KB
Supported using public funding by the Arts Council England