Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Sportivate: A case study of community physical activity programmes and their sustainability

Ikramullah, Anees (2021) Sportivate: A case study of community physical activity programmes and their sustainability. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88892) (KAR id:88892)


The purpose of this research was to answer the research question (RQ), which factors play a role in the sustainability of community sport programmes delivered by organisation funded through Sportivate in London? To achieve this, a case-study of Sportivate in London was adopted to measure influence on the perceptions from stakeholders on emerging themes of sustainability. Initially, sustainability factors and the implementation of sport policy were reviewed to determine the existing framework for the theoretical concepts. This research adopted critical realism ontological perspectives and retroductive reasoning to infer causal mechanisms from existing social structures defined by stratified modes of reality.

With a mixed-methods approach, the main body of investigation was conducted across two studies. The first utilised a qualitative research design by conducting 33 interviews from 12 different organisations grouped as Target Achieved (TA) or Target Not Achieved (TNA) delivered Sportivate programmes in London between 2014-15. Interviewees were from TA organisations (n = 18) and TNA organisations (n = 15). Interviewing multiple staff from the same organisation allowed the investigation to explore how emerging themes of sustainability may differ across strategic or delivery-level positions within the organisation.

The second study built upon the sustainability themes emerging from study 1, with the collection of 214 responses from online surveys administered to assemble quantitative data. The collected data informed the research prior to exploratory factor analysis (EFA) which was employed to investigate the reliability of sustainability themes surveyed. Subsequently, analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were relayed as the final step of data analysis procedure, testing hypotheses relevant to the independent variables of organisation type, staff capacity, staff role, and length of time at organisation.

Emerging themes from study 1 included the material sustainability concepts of policy remodelling, sport-for-health, delivery level staff, and revenue dependency. From these, study 2's EFA proposed splitting the revenue dependency concept into themes of funding resources at organisations and public funding dependency. Furthermore, EFA indicated that evaluation and feedback should be considered as a sustainability factor. Neither partnerships nor staff diversity, as artefactual sustainability concepts, were identified by EFA in study 2. Finally, the social concept of sustainability featured strongly after EFA, as role of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) detected a need for clear leadership. Also, the autonomy of staff was considered as a sustainability factor, however, the social reality considering social bonds and communications streams was not confirmed by EFA.

Study 2 results indicated the importance of three influential factors of sustainability relating to; a sense of clear leadership and programme championing present between staff at organisation, the importance of funding for medium-sized organisations and governing bodies, and evaluation measures being necessary, but only practical for larger organisations with co-ordinators able to carry this out as a planning activity. These attitudes specifically relate to the nature of influence held by staff roles, staff capacity, and organisation type. However, the limited balance in different types of organisation types who responded to the survey suggests only staff roles and staff capacity can be held as conclusive influences on sustainability factor perceptions emerging from this study 1 and 2. Future developments suggests minimising the likelihood of error in variance for organisation type as this influence on sustainability was reviewed as an important variable affecting community intervention programmes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Koutrou, Niki
Thesis advisor: Pappous, Sakis
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.88892
Uncontrolled keywords: sustainability; funding; community intervention programmes; sport; physical activity; health and wellbeing; community sport; capacity; leadership; evaluation; policy implementation
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2021 09:01 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 16:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Ikramullah, Anees.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.