Getfit.WalesDigital Inclusion | Health and Wellbeing | Sports
What is the project?
GetFit Wales works by linking the individuals Getfit.Wales profile to their Fitbit account and allocates points on the number of steps a participant takes over a target set by tailored support.
Who is the project targeted at?
The project specifically targets inactive school pupils and inactive families. Looking at each:
This area of the project looks to explore and promote healthy development in pupils physical, mental, and social behaviours using Fitbits to achieve the recommended daily step goal of 10,000 steps as suggested by Public Health. Each school project group is managed by committed and trained teachers and coaches with the support from informed parents to encourage pupils to walk your way to health.
This area of the project looks to work with families living in either a Newydd Housing Association, Cynon Taf Community Housing or Rhondda Housing property in providing practical support to improve engagement in the whole family’s health and physical activity levels. Each family will be provided with a Fitbit and encouraged to participate in family-friendly activities, open spaces and freely connect to their local physical activity and health facilities through a reward scheme.
Why did the project come about?
The project came as a direct response to feedback where self-confessed inactive people stated that their main barriers for them to be more active were that they were unaware of local health provision, cannot afford entry fees or do not wish to pay for activity classes they do not know if they enjoy, and cannot afford the cost of healthier foods.
Such responses were prevalent when discussing feedback with other housing associations / local council and physical activity providers, as such we looked at how we can work together to tackle these responses.
How was this project implemented?
Through a collaborative approach we worked with a local high school (ST John Baptist Church in Wales High School) Physical Education department to identify suitable young people where we provided Fitbits and tailored staff support to encourage the young people to be more active and live a more healthier and active life over a school term.
As an incentive for participants to meet their targets each day / week/ month/ term, they were rewarded with a point for every 1000 steps they achieved over their target, with a maximum of 2 points able to be earnt each day. With the points earnt, participants were able to redeem for free access to health provision and healthy food including ‘healthy meal’ at the school canteen and gym passes at local leisure centres and gym’s.
Due to the high level of engagement and success from the participants at St Johns CiW High School we recreated the project at another high school in the borough (Hawthorn High School) where the project showed similar results.
Foreseeing participants wanting to know the full list of activities their points can access, we set up https://getfit.wales/ which maps all provision and furthermore digitalised the point system automating the process.
How was this project funded?
The project is funded by Newydd Housing Association digital inclusion program, HAPI, Sport RCT, Cynon Taf Community Housing group, Rhondda Housing Association, RCT Youth and Engagement Services, and monies secured through Tesco Bags for Help.
The project is delivered in partnership with HAPI, RCT Youth and Participation Services, Cynon Taf Community Housing group, Rhondda Housing Association and a number of schools throughout RCT.
Outcomes so far
Since the project has started over 100 participants has registered on the project, of which two thirds has completed the full duration of the project with the most popular purchases through the GetFit.Wales site being ‘healthy meal’ at school canteen and ‘Fruit and Veg pack’ at local green grocers.
Feedback from participants has been amazing, one saying “I think the initiative is fantastic, its really boosted my self esteem and made exercise fun and competitive” while others saying “I am definitely more conscious of how much activity I am doing and always ‘try’ to walk a minimum of 10000 steps per day”
The Getfit.Wales project was recently promoted by ITV in an article which looked at fitness trackers and the growing interest in digital health, the news article can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGou9Z2EAgA
Throughout the duration of the project we encourage the schools and project leads to capture case studies where they see there has been a positive change in a participant’s life, a snipped of one of the case studies can be shown below:
Speaking with Samyjo she said that before joining the project she would spend most of her time in her bedroom watching TV. Within school, there was little emphasis on taking part in any physical activity and overall was failing in her schoolwork.
Throughout the duration of the project, Samyjo really embraced the challenges set by Christie Williams and GetFit.Wales and as a result, begun earning lots of points which have helped her turn her life around.
Samjo started going on little walks with her pet dog Frankie which soon led to longer walks up mountains and trails. Having started the project on 12th February 2019, to date (18th July 2019) Samyjo has managed to walk an incredible 931,058 steps with her best daily step count being 27,384.
The pilot of the project targeted schools and families located in the Rhondda Cynon Taf area, therefore the future plans of the project are to work with local health providers, local council and schools to expand into the Vale of Glamorgan and further.