Ryecroft Community Hub - Local volunteers develop mobile app to help communities discover Walsall

A group of volunteers have been coming together weekly to create a mobile app to help communities learn about Walsall and its history, known as the Walsall Walking Tour Project Group.

Trevor, Peter and Doris, were all learning various aspects of computing. During discussion, they decided they would like to produce something while learning. They were informed by Dave Taylor (Centre Manager of Ryecroft Hub) about the app inventor program M.I.T. and made a suggestion to develop a mobile app with it.


One of the volunteers Trevor, was interested in the history of Walsall and the group had conversations about various parts of Walsall and its history.


They realised that there were probably many people who now live in Walsall, who would be interested in learning something about the town and it’s past. In addition, people who have moved to other parts of the UK or the world might also be interested.


Therefore, they decided that the subject of Walsall and its history would be good for the app. They also thought that the app should be designed as a ‘Walking Tour of Walsall’.


They collected photos and information, much of which Trevor already had. This was uploaded onto the Ryecroft website.


Trevor, one of the volunteers said, “Hopefully, it will draw their attention and they will contribute because there will be access for them to put contributions on and it may get people to discuss various parts of what they’ve seen.


“If there’s something we’ve missed they can put comments on about it.”


For the first version, they wanted to have a ‘keep it simple’ mode as a starting point by including ten items, all within a walking distance of the town centre.


They constructed a story board of these ten items using the photos and information that was collected. They also had many additional items, which were put into a category known as ‘did you know?’ and included information about famous people from Walsall.


The app also includes a quiz with multiple choice questions and the answers are all included somewhere in the app.


Peter hopes that what is being done here will be passed down to the local people. We can use this app on the young and the old. For the old, it will be of interest and for the young, it will be good education material. We hope we can succeed on this.


Responding to when Faith Minister Lord Bourne visited them on the Walsall for All launch day, Trevor said, “Surprised to start with, but quite pleased. He seemed very interested in the project and his comments afterwards were very good and very pleasing.”


Doris, who is also a volunteer said, “We felt we wanted to do something worthwhile with what we were learning.


“We actually thought we could put a translation package in there, so that people could run the application in different languages and that would be useful to the wider community as a whole.”


The group are looking to do a number of apps in the future, including a first aid app and a walking tour of local nature reserves.


Dave Taylor, Centre Manager says, “The idea behind the first aid app is that it’s local to the area. Hopefully, we will get a list of defibrillators in the area based on GPS location and things like ‘when should I go to the pharmacy, doctors or A&E’ as this might help people who don’t want to wait for a long time.”


The first aid app would also include traditional help and advice.


If you would like to find out more about the mobile app project group, you can get in touch with Dave Taylor, Ryecroft Community Hub on 01922 626693 or email info@ryecroftnrc.org.

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