GEOVATION 1

Community Friends’ Walks

Feb 2018 – Feb 2019

Funded by the Ordinance Survey ‘GEOVATION CHALLENGE’, the Community Friends’ Walks project was a pilot study which aimed to build relationships with local friends’ organisations and to develop a concept and feasibility for a digital interface, a Community Friends’ Walks app.

The concept was tested in the North Norwich area using the Marriott’s Way and local circular walks. The project study was primarily focused on those that experience physical, social or mental barriers to getting outside and becoming physically active.

6 trial walks with a variety of user groups were undertaken. The walks were advertised on posters around the North Norwich area and targeted to those who do not have regular access to online technology. The walk attendees tested existing walking apps on tablet devices loaned from The Digital Inclusion Project run by Norwich City Council. The attendees were also asked to look through the Norfolk Trails Access Tested booklets online.

The led community walks were held to gather information and feedback from potential users of the app, particularly from those who may have differing abilities in using app technology. Attendees were asked to complete a short survey at the end of each walk. Questions about the walk attendees activity levels and technology usage were asked to give an insight into how useful a walking app would be to that individual.

Two community meetings, one for walking groups and one for mental health support specialists MIND, were also held, and feedback from those collected. Other support for the project and essential feedback has come from organisations such as, Central Norfolk Walking for Health, Age UK Norwich, Norwich Dragons and from Andy Johnson, a consultant on countryside access

As a result of this research, the project went on to issue a brief and collect tow sets of costing for a purpose built app, as well as testing several existing platforms. One of the project partners, the Marriott’s |Way Heritage Trail Project, then went forward with one of these, to publish their own online and app based walks collection. More information about that can be found at www.marriottsway.info

Following the pilot study, Pathmakers were invited by the funder to apply for further ongoing support, and a second GEOVATION project is now in development.