Once your physical activity program is up and running, you need to be able to sustain it. Sustainability is essential to successful health promotion programming and is a key component of planning. Planning for sustainability throughout the project will enhance its implementation.
Sustainability in community work has four components:
- Sustaining the issue — in this case, physical activity for mental health — on the agendas of the public, decisionmakers, and your community partners.
- Continuing the programs that communities are planning, implementing and evaluating.
- Supporting behaviour changes that people have already made.
- Sustaining the partnerships that support the activities and contribute to the behaviour change process.
Evaluation is fundamental to sustainability in that only effective elements of a community project should be considered for sustainability and effectiveness needs to be determined by an assessment of how things are working (process evaluation) and progress towards achieving established goals (outcome evaluation). [For more about evaluation, see Measuring Your Success.]
Adapted from Ontario's Heart Health Resource Centre, "Planning for Sustainability" Model, @ Heart, Fall 1999.
See also: Nancy Dubois, "Sustaining Health Promotion Efforts," Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin, October 27, 2006.
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