Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000

Description

Trent Country Park comprises 413-acres of varied woodlands, lakes, meadows and other habitats. It is a haven for wildlife and a wonderful retreat from city life reached easily by bus, underground, car, bike and foot. The park lies within the London Borough of Enfield [LBE], where levels of childhood obesity are among the highest in London and well above the national average. There are also some very deprived areas of the borough where life expectancy is much lower than average.

It is a well-established fact that walking is one of the best, safest and cheapest ways to improve health and well-being but many of Trent Country Park’s million plus visitors each year see only a small corner of the park, remaining close to the main entrance, carpark and café. Our goal is to promote health and well-being by inspiring people to walk further throughout the park. We will do this by making navigation easier and the walk more interesting using free low-tech and high-tech solutions.

A few years ago a waymarked trail was established in the park offering two routes and a map was created to highlight points of interest. However, we have been reluctant to promote the trails because insufficient marker posts were installed and people were concerned about getting lost. Our low-tech solution is to install more marker posts and print more maps, which will be available at the main entrance and online.

Our high-tech solution will be available to anyone with a smartphone. We propose to commission an app that will work on the phone networks across platforms. It will use cellular data to pinpoint the user’s location and will offer a number of functions:

• the app will give users a breakdown of distance walked and health stats such as calories burned etc.
• the app will ping notifications for points of interest as the user walks around the park
• users can click points of interest on an interactive map to find out more information
• users can pick a pre-defined walk or
• users can plan their route by picking points of interest that they would want to see

Additional features that might be added depending on the budget could include putting physical QR codes around the park that can be scanned for information about flora and fauna, historical features, etc. and notifications about offers at the café, special events or news about the park.

The app will provide confidence, fun/interest and feedback about the health benefits of walking. Both the low-tech and high-tech solutions will also encourage more groups of all ages to explore the park learning about nature and history while they improve their health.

For younger visitors in particular, making the walking/exercise a by-product of challenging and inviting tech software in this way will increase the fun factor of cardiovascular exercise and reduce the chore factor. School groups and scout troops would be encouraged to use both options for cross country or orienteering training, which are key components in their curricula.

The waymarked trail and the smartphone app would be promoted by LBE, the Friends of Trent Country Park and its associated organisations, Age UK and other organisations in the area working to improve the health of residents in the area.



Friends of Trent Country Park

Location: London Borough of Enfield, United Kingdom

As the Council budget for parks has decreased, our Friends group has stepped up to ensure that Trent County Park continues to be adequately maintained, improved and appreciated by the public. We are a small but dedicated group working to make sure this jewel of a park can be enjoyed by everyone.
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