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Community Development Guidelines

To support the efforts of the NSW Government, the business sector and the community to deliver best practice, evidence-based, physical activity/active living programs which strengthen community engagement and build social capital, the NSW Premiers Council for Active Living (PCAL) has developed Recommended Guidelines for the use of Physical Activity for Community Development Purposes.

The guidelines were developed based upon a review of existing evidence and indepth analysis of selected current case studies. Critical success factors are presented within a comprehensive report providing detailed methodological case study and policy context details.

Critical Success Factors

The guidelines establish that the critical success factors of a successful physical activity program that has promoted community development can be described under the following headings:

  • Localised including the use of local facilities, partnerships, local membership and programs which are valued locally;
  • Group cohesion and inclusion encompassing community spirit, co-operation and collaboration
  • Broad community engagement integrating contribution, expanded social network and democratic processes
  • Individualised through flexibility and personal development and
  • Sustainability with key elements being policy context, partnerships, integration and evaluation and feedback.

Practitioners Resource

A concise practitioners resource (Building stronger communities through physical activity: a practitioners resource) has also been developed to assist practitioners plan, implement and evaluate physical activity programs that build social capital in communities.

The resource reflects information gathered throughout the research project. It has been designed for use in a multiplicity of applications including program and policy settings and at grassroots delivery of physical activity or community development programs.

Case Studies

Sport in the Neighbourhood
Sport in the Neighbourhood is a guide for developing grass-roots, community based sport and physical activity programs. Killarney Vale, Bateau Bay and Tumbi Umbi Community Building Network established Sport in the neighbourhood, a community-run program that has provided regular, free sporting activities and games for local kids to keep them active and safe over the past five years in Bateau Bay. This simple and highly successful initiative has helped to foster a sense of community in the area, with volunteering adults and young people getting to know their neighbours through healthy involvement in community life.

Evidence Papers

Physical Activity & Building Stronger Communities
This report was commissioned by PCAL as part of the development of the Community Development Guidelines. The report reviews the formal literature relating to the role of physical activity in building stronger communities. The review identified certain common success factors across physical activity programs including: engaging people from the target community, providing opportunity for different types of involvement and empowering community members to manage programs.


Population Health Congress - 07/07/2008

Integrating Physical Activity and Community Development

Melissa Stoneham and Peter McCue

This presentation outlines project stages in identifying critical success factors for the use of physical activity for community development purposes and the subsequent development of the project report and practitioner's resource.

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