Valley Leisure

Valley Leisure

Valley Leisure is an independent charitable trust based in Andover, Hampshire. For over 30 years the charity has been on a mission to enable people of all ages to live as well as possible for as long as possible. Valley Leisure delivers on this mission through their two key brands: Riverside Bowl and I Can Therapy.

As well as being a provider of unique and innovative services to help engage and enthuse people of all ages to be more active and improve their fitness.

The Problem

Valley Leisure is a charitable organisation that offers the majority, if not all of its services in person. So it is easy to understand the hugely negative impact the pandemic had on the way Valley Leisure could operate effectively as they were unable to meet their customers in person. Specifically this highlighted the need for them to look at the impact lockdown had on their I Can Therapy Centre, a unique and innovative exercise and socially interactive community wellbeing facility and service.

The I Can Therapy Centre offers a circuit of specially adapted power assisted exercise equipment and linked to the centre are progressive condition specific group exercise classes. The ‘I Can’ concept enables people to improve their health and wellbeing to feel better by moving more. What could be done to keep these vital programmes running even with the mandated facility closures and social distancing?

Valley Leisure was referred to The Curve after having completed a feasibility workshop to explore the potential taking the I Can concept online. After a comprehensive and collaborative discovery session with the team, it was determined that a digital solution was required. Something with the ability to combine Valley Leisure’s I Can Therapy Centres USP with an online video based exercise program. It was agreed that the fundamental core functionality should represent them as close as possible.

The initial phase of the project would focus on only what was necessary to prove the concept without over-investing efforts in secondary areas. So, components of the in-person I Can Therapy Centre such as the Café, Noticeboard and Live Fitness session functionality were not included.

The main goal with the digital solution was to test the video delivery of exercise sessions. If the market responded well to the initial implementation then the scope of the project could be increased to encompass the Cafe, Noticeboards and Live Fitness sessions. This strategy was aimed to benefit those who fall between the current I Can Therapy Centre users and those who would benefit from an online video exercise program.

How We Helped

The Solution

As part of the discovery process, the combined team came to the conclusion that an MVP would be developed in the shape of a responsive web portal that would allow Valley Leisure users and community members to access and take part in I Can Connect online exercise activities. From this Valley Leisure would be better positioned to test the video delivery of exercise sessions.

The I Can Connect web portal was then built to allow users to follow instructional and informative exercise videos through a variety of devices such as Phones, Laptops, Computers and Tablets. The online web portal allows users to access content online that isn’t easily and readily available for the target audience. It also allows those who can’t or don’t want to attend a physical site to have human in contact, interaction and benefit from the valuable social aspect that is often so important for customers.

The recommendation for the web portal was to use a variety of cloud technologies such as Microsoft’s Azure platform to host and manage various instances and databases as the costs of these systems are likely to scale inline with the number of customers, therefore being one of the more cost effective resources to use.

At the initial stage, the MVP was built with only certain functionality and was prioritised in order to allow members of the Valley Leisure community to test and feedback on their experience before further implementing a wider range of functionalities. However, this was a sizable project with some level of complexity involved in the video streaming and live video conferencing functionality in the system.

Their Thoughts

Chris Attrill – Valley Leisure, CEO

“The Curve developed a great MVP that enabled us to gather community feedback and provide a unique experience to our customers and ensure that they have more ways of staying active and getting involved with the Valley Leisure community.

We have learned so much from this collaboration – it was surprising to see that what we initially envisaged was somewhat different to what we ended up building. This journey has been a real learning experience for us all.”

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