Young people in the North East will be able to find places to access free condoms and sexual health information, thanks to an app generated using App Movement, Open Lab’s app-development platform.
The C-Card Condom Finder app allows users to find and review places they can use their C-Cards. C-Cards are available for free to anyone under the age of 25 across the North East, and give young people access to free condoms and sexual health information, with these services provided by a large number of participating outlets.
Mark Hedley, the C-Card Coordinator for Newcastle upon Tyne, explained:
“The C-Card Scheme is often the first experience young people have of accessing a service to discuss relationships and sexual health with a trained professional. Many young people coming along to C-Card outlets are not having sex yet but appreciate the opportunity to talk things through with an understanding member of staff and have access to free condoms as and when they need them.
“For young people the C-Card Condom Finder app will allow them to find out where their local C-Card outlets are and give them an opportunity to give instant feedback on how they felt they were supported whilst using their C-Card; outlets will then be able to use this information to influence service provision to meet the needs of all young people.”
The app was generated through App Movement, a platform developed at Open Lab, Newcastle University, which allows people to collaboratively commission and design their own apps. Anyone can begin by creating a campaign and gathering 150 supporters who can then collaboratively design and customize features of the app, including its name, the colour scheme and the criteria for rating locations. The app is then automatically generated by the platform and released on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Using the App Movement platform meant that young people were involved in the actual design process of their app. This fits within Open Lab’s interest in digital civics – using technology to empower citizens.
Andy Garbett is a researcher at Open Lab and developed the App Movement platform. He explained:
“The partnership between the C-Card scheme and Open Lab is a great opportunity to have a positive impact on the sexual health initiative in the North East and enable young people to be more actively involved in the delivery of their C-Card service.
“Our digital civics research at Open Lab focuses on enabling citizens to take a leading role in the provision of community services. The App Movement platform allows a bottom-up approach to commissioning mobile applications and supporting communities in sharing their experiences with others. The C-Card Condom Finder app is a great example of how service users can shape the design and delivery of the services they utilise.”
Although most areas in the UK have schemes to provide free contraception and sexual health advice to young people, these schemes are currently fragmented, and coverage varies from region to region. The C-Card Condom Finder app has the potential to provide a single network of free condom providers.