Melin Homes Fitbit Project

Digital Communities

Melin Homes Fitbit Project

Melin Homes is a registered social landlord providing affordable homes for residents in South East Wales. The health and wellbeing of Melin staff is very important to the organisation and it’s committed to supporting this in a variety of ways.

The organisation’s ‘Zest’ group was set up five years ago to support the health and wellbeing of staff. The group has representatives from each department within Melin and they co-ordinate a range of activities that are open to all members of staff.

Outline of our Intervention

Melin homes submitted a proposal for the loan of eight Fitbits, which was subsequently approved and the equipment was loaned out for an eight-week period. The loan of the Fitbits enabled Melin to offer members of the Direct Workforce team (e.g. plumbers, electricians, painters) and Sheltered Scheme Managers the opportunity to participate in the project. The Direct Workforce team, because of the nature of their jobs, have not had to use technology within their role until fairly recently, when Melin’s Agile Working project was introduced to replace the paper-based system that was previously in use. This is a huge cultural shift for some team members, many of whom would be considered to be digitally excluded. The loaned Fitbits enabled team members to use and experience technology in a fun and informal way and encouraged them to use technology to improve their general health and wellbeing.

Impact of our Intervention

All eight participants wore the Fitbits for a six-week period and feedback was excellent right from the start, with some saying they didn’t realise how good the Fitbits were and how more aware it made them of their activity levels. All participants increased their activity levels as a result of wearing the Fitbit, some because they wanted to make sure they hit the 10,000 steps a day and others because they wanted to beat the previous day’s steps! Most of the people have also vowed to get their own Fitbit following the project to ensure that they maintain their activity levels and ensure they remain fit and healthy.

Individual Impact

“I was a little dubious about wearing the Fitbit to start with as I’d heard about them but never seen how they could be used before. I was amazed right from the start at how easy they were to use and sync with my phone. I was slowly a little obsessed with seeing how many steps I was doing each day and even logging everything I ate and drank, to ensure I was capturing a full picture of my health and wellbeing.”

“Wearing the Fitbit definitely made me much more aware of my activity levels and without a doubt encouraged me to be more active. I was determined to get to 10,000 steps a day and would even go for an extra walk if I hadn’t quite got there towards the end of the day. It gave me a massive buzz when my Fitbit notified me when I got to the target as I would never have walked or run that much before wearing it. I thought the novelty would wear off after a while and I would end up at square one again, however it didn’t at all and my activity levels are continuing to rise even now. You do get a bit competitive and try to beat your highest step score, but that’s what it’s all about, trying to push yourself that extra bit every day.
I wouldn’t be without a Fitbit now, it’s definitely improved my general health and wellbeing and I’ve encouraged so many other people to get on-board with the Fitbit craze!”

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