“First time for me to be top of something!”
No-one could accuse June, a mother of three from east London, of being inactive or antisocial. On top of performing her maternal duties, she walks a lot and volunteers at a community cafe. But June likes a challenge, and when her local gym closed she had to seek it elsewhere. Then she discovered BetterPoints. Not only can she now join any challenges available to her in the BetterPoints app, she can also donate the points she earns back into her community.
“I have three children and we’re an active family,” says June. “Your health is your world so we all try and stay healthy. I want to do whatever I can do and enjoy the outdoors, as there might come a day when I can’t.”
June started walking regularly a few years ago. “I was already going to a gym so started walking to the gym rather than drive, and then walk back. Then I started walking other places rather than taking the car.”
But then, to her dismay, the local gym closed down.
“I do miss it,” she says. “So I wanted to stay active.”
June heard about BetterPoints from a notice board in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. “Tuesday,” she says, “I go to Olympic Park for walking group Striders. The Olympic Park is 45 minutes’ walk away; then the group walk for an hour and then I walk home.”
Last month, June took up the BetterPoints challenge for National Walking Month when it appeared in her app. Every year, May is designated National Walking Month by the charity, Living Streets. This year, BetterPoints joined in: we challenged people to walk for at least twenty minutes on five consecutive days and rewarded them with points, which have a cash value and can be redeemed against vouchers for high street stores.
June likes a challenge, so she took it.
“We have a local park run at end of the road,” she says. “My husband does it, so, during National Walking Month, on a Saturday, I walked the route instead of running it. [The BetterPoints programme] kept me in check to go out every day to meet the challenge. It did help me to think about my activities and I liked looking at the map to track my route.”
Of the thousand people that took the challenge, only twelve managed to complete it. June was one of those and is justly proud: “It’s the first time for me to be top of something,” she says.
June has since learned that she can even donate the BetterPoints she earns to charity, something she is keen to do.
“I’d love to donate my points to Sally’s Kitchen,” she says.
Sally’s Kitchen is a community cafe and food bank in Waltham Forest. June volunteers in the cafe, which offers healthy food and an antidote to social isolation. The cafe has been running for 18 months. “There are around 40 lunches,” she says, “main course and dessert, and tea and coffee. It’s £3 or free.”
“I like walking,” says June. “It’s a way of keeping fit and it’s sociable. It helps me feel invigorated and alive.
“The challenge for National Walking Month helped me to do that little bit extra.”