Aneurin Leisure Trust

Digital Communities

Aneurin Leisure Trust

Aneurin Leisure Trust delivers a range of services which are designed to improve community life through leisure, learning and culture. The Trust is responsible for the operation, management and development of sport and leisure facilities, arts development, parks, libraries and Adult Community Learning across Blaenau Gwent.

As a community organisation the Trust is passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives, not only improving physical health and wellbeing but on their social and mental health through our diverse range of services. Adult Community Learning works to improve essential skills, including digital literacy of individuals who are predominately unemployed or economically inactive. Many of these individuals who attend these courses require additional support to link their ICT learning to practical everyday activities.

Aneurin Leisure Trust Adult Community Learning submitted a proposal to Digital Communities Wales for the loan of six Fitbits, which was subsequently approved. The majority of individuals who engage with Adult Community Learning have low confidence and self-esteem which stems from poor literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills. Initially six ladies expressed an interest using the Fitbits to improve both their digital literacy and their fitness.

The Trust designed a project called Your Body Your Life for these ladies which is aimed at improving confidence and inclusion. The six women were given six weeks free membership with access to a personal trainer in one of the Trust’s leisure centres. The goal was to give these ladies all the tools to make a life change, become healthier and lead a more active lifestyle. The purpose of the Fitbits for the project was to give the ladies a goal to achieve through the use of technology and help when they did not have access to the trainer.

The Fitbits were allocated to people who regularly attended the Learning Action Centres. They were linked to an individual’s iPhone, iPad or appropriate device. If any of the individuals did not own an appropriate device, Adult Community Learning loaned the individual an iPad for the duration of the project.

Through this approach the individuals involved all improved their understanding of how their digital literacy skills can be applied to their everyday activities

This intervention has had multiple impacts; the ladies improved their knowledge of how digital technology can be integrated into their lives. The Fitbits were used as motivational tools as the ladies were keen to see how their performances compared and improved as the weeks progressed.

“We linked the Fitbit to my mobile phone, so I could track my exercise through the day.”

“The texts we received for healthy recipes were great – my kids enjoyed the veggie pizzas!”

“We now have a Whatsapp Fitgroup, so that we can keep in touch.”

The ladies involved have said how their wellbeing has improved since the start of the project and how they are enjoying their new friendships, swapping health tips, finding new websites and having group “chats” on social media. All the ladies were keen to stress how their and their families wellbeing had improved through participation in the programme,

“I didn’t realise how easy it is to use the internet. Before I just used to text. After learning how to use live chat, I was able to communicate with my electricity supplier to query my bill, which was a lot quicker than waiting on the telephone!”

One lady explained how through learning to use digital technology she has agreed with her daughter that they both put GPS on their mobile telephones.

“My daughter has just passed her driving test. I feel a lot happier now that I can see where she is when she is out and about in the car.”

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