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Belfast rewards its citizens for spending time in green spaces

Individuals can earn rewards such as transport passes via the social currency mobile app which also provides a promotional platform for local businesses, services and events.

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Citizens can also donate Civic Dollars to a local community group
Citizens can also donate Civic Dollars to a local community group

Citizens in Belfast can earn rewards for time spent in local parks and open spaces via a new mobile app.

 

Rewards include Translink DayLink passes and tickets to visitor attractions or they can choose to support their local community group by donating Civic Dollars to them.

 

Social currency

 

The social currency app was developed by local company Moai Digital with support from Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice. Civic Dollars is funded through the Amazing Spaces, Smart Places project and is part of the council’s Smart Belfast programme.

 

The Connswater Community Greenway will be the first area to go live in the free pilot scheme, followed by other parks across the city.

 

“Life these days is about so much more than just money,” said Stephen McPeake, CEO of Moai Digital. “It’s about improving our communities, and our own health and wellbeing – Civic Dollars provides the perfect solution with a new social currency.”

 

Lord mayor councillor Kate Nicholl explained that the app also provides a promotional platform for local businesses, services and events. She added: “And the insights we’ll gather will help us to better understand how people use green spaces, improve park management, reduce vandalism, littering and anti-social behaviour and enhance the visitor experience.”

 

A number of Belfast-based community groups can benefit from donated Civic Dollars, exchanging them for various services such as business training, professional advice and activity centre sessions.

“The insights we’ll gather will help us to better understand how people use green spaces, [and] improve park management”

The Amazing Spaces, Smart Places project is jointly funded by Belfast City Council and the Department of Justice via the Department for the Economy’s Small Business Research Initiative, which enables the public sector to tap into new ideas and technologies created by innovative local businesses. It also gives innovators an opportunity to trial and test their prototype in a supportive real-world environment as part of their product development.

 

“Effectively managing public open spaces is a key element in developing a safe community, where we respect the law and each other,” said justice minister, Naomi Long.

“The Civic Dollars pilot scheme holds the potential to deliver real benefits to local communities by using technology to improve the safe use of our parks and open spaces; something that is so important for both physical and mental health.”

 

The CivicDollars app can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play Store. The pilot will run until the end of Summer 2021.

 

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