Skip to main content

Table 4 Barriers and facilitators for intervention implementation

From: Evaluation of the implementation of an intervention to improve the street environment and promote walking for transport in deprived neighbourhoods

Theme Barriers/challenges Facilitators
Local knowledge and contacts • Lack of knowledge of the local area where coordinators were working in areas unfamiliar to them
• Lack of established contacts and partners where coordinators were working in new areas
• Coordinator living in the local area, being knowledgeable about the local area, understanding local issues and agendas, having an established network of contacts
Intervention delivery • Uncertainty at the start about how the project would be delivered
• Lack of publicity materials and resources at the start of the intervention
• Sending letters to community groups to invite them to participate in the intervention did not result in groups signing up
• Recruiting hard to reach individuals/wider members of the community
• Having one negative person in a group can have a substantial impact of the rest of the group
• Limited funding and budgets cuts during the intervention
• Timescales for engaging and working with communities and for making LA-led environmental improvements were much longer than expected
• Maintaining momentum and community involvement whilst awaiting LA improvements
• Gaining permission and approvals for intervention activities slowed progress
• Difficulty in closing projects, particularly where the coordinator had become well embedded into the group
• Coordinators were unable to work with the target number of groups due to the other barriers such as timescales and coordinator capacity
• Recruiting the target number of individuals
• Flexibility to deliver the intervention to suit local needs and allow for local differences in context and operating processes
• Development of a more structured intervention delivery pathway as FFW progressed
• Developing contacts and linking in to existing local networks and organisations
• Linking to existing projects e.g. urban regeneration schemes which helped provide additional local funding for FFW
• Allowing the activities to be community-led
• Use of resources e.g. the Community Street Audit helped with community engagement and provided credibility with LAs; the FFW manual enabled groups to develop and deliver their own activities providing a level of sustainability; the pledge cards were also a useful engagement tool; having case study examples from other FFW projects to help ‘sell’ the intervention to new groups
• Distributing the audit report not only to the main contact in the LA, but also to other LA departments and community organisations helped to support implementation of the recommendations and lever funding
• Coordinators had a budget of their own to spend on intervention activities which helped engage the LAs, other partners and communities
• Ensuring the community group knew they were expected to take ownership of the project and not expect the coordinator to do all the work
• Increasing reach of the intervention by working with secondary groups e.g. schools
• The FFW award criteria played a role in providing focus for a community group; the award was important for communities in recognising their achievements
Coordinator role • Capacity of coordinator to work across multiple areas with multiple groups simultaneously and time management
• Level of work involved with each group, even those who were proactive and confident
• Managing perceptions of communities regarding the coordinator role (some thought they were purely walk leaders, others expected the coordinator to do all the work instead of the community group taking ownership)
• Coordinator changes in two regions may have affected established relationships with local groups and partners
• ‘Getting known’ and having a presence/visibility in the community
• Being proactive in working with LA to follow up on status of audit report and actions on recommendations
• Maintaining contact and providing regular communication to community groups on the status of their proposed environmental improvements
Working with local authorities and other partners • Two LAs dropped out before FFW started due to being unable to commit resources and funding for the intervention
• LA lack of understanding of the FFW intervention and their role
• Some LAs wished to direct where the coordinator worked, or wanted the coordinator to work across the whole LA area which wasn’t feasible with coordinator capacity or where the intervention was most needed
• All LAs functioned differently, coordinators had to understand this and work differently with each one
• It took time for the coordinator to be accepted in the LA and have a full understanding of how the LA operated
• LA processes and priorities did not always fit with FFW
• The level of LA support varied; the key contact in the LA did not always provide sufficient support, or did not have the right contacts to support intervention activities
• Changes of staff in the LAs affected intervention delivery
• The level of support from councillors varied across areas
• In some areas, there was resistance and negativity from local councillors regarding availability of funding and raising community expectations
• Communication between LA departments was sometimes poor
• Bureaucracy and paperwork was a hindrance to making quick progress with intervention activities
• It became apparent that many different LA departments might have a role in improving the environment to promote walking, not just the transport department, however other departments in the LAs were not always aware of or engaged in the intervention
• The timescales to get approval for work, planning decisions and environmental improvements made were much longer than expected
• The transport departments sometimes had limited knowledge of what was happening on the ground in communities. Other departments became important for this e.g. neighbourhood management
• In some areas LA neighbourhood management teams were disbanded during the intervention which affected delivery of FFW
• Where there was no neighbourhood management structure, working with communities was much more challenging
• Tracking the progress of audit reports once they had been submitted to the LAs was difficult and time consuming
• In some LAs, provision of funding slowed down once the match fund target had been reached
• Funding reduced during the course of the intervention due to budget cuts
• Working with multiple partners, with different agendas and different ways of working was challenging
• LA being willing to provide match funding and resources to support FFW
• Having the right contact in the LA facilitated intervention implementation and timescales for action
• Knowing who to contact to ensure action takes place
• In some areas, having a more senior member of staff helped with implementation, in others more junior members of staff were important in facilitating progress
• LAs provided capacity to undertake work e.g. use of community pay back teams to clean graffiti from a bridge, or engaging the local navy to assist with a clean-up day
• Having a neighbourhood management structure in place enabled coordinators to quickly access information about the local area, community groups and issues
• Developing partnerships with local organisations provided additional support for FFW, increased publicity, built capacity, helped to identify community groups, ensured there was no duplication of activities and promoted long-term sustainability
Working with communities • Some FFW projects were based in urban regeneration areas and community experiences of this (changes to timescales, promises not kept, communities felt they were not listened to, changes made the community did not want) led to some resistance to FFW
• Identifying a focus for the local project, sometimes the community group did not have a clear environmental issue they wished to address and were only interested in walking
• Maintaining focus on changing the environment and promoting walking for transport; some groups only wanted led walks or focussed more on improving green space and recreational walking
• Some coordinators felt they were ‘used’ to set up walking groups or to address agendas which were not the focus of FFW
• Managing expectations; it was not always possible to make all the environmental improvements which were requested and slow timescales
• Some community groups required a lot of support impacting on coordinators’ time and capacity for other groups
• Working in areas already targeted for regeneration helped generate funding and facilitated some community projects that had been started but were making no or slow progress
• Working with existing and established groups who are passionate about their local area
• Having a specific issue to focus on identified by the community group
• Having a key contact or champion in each community group facilitated communication and intervention delivery