Wakefield Youngsters Set To Create The Next Big Health App

A team of digital whizz-kids from Sandal Castle VA Community Primary School have been chosen by industry experts to develop the next big health app.

Youngsters from six of the District’s primary schools were taking part in the finals of Schools App Challenge; an annual competition to create new health apps ‘designed by kids, for kids.’ Now in it’s third year with plans to go national later this year, Schools App Challenge is a digital skills, health and wellbeing competition to inspire young minds and improve health outcomes for 7-11 year olds.

Ben, Nicole, Lara, Hayley, James and Jake, all year six pupils from Sandal Castle, couldn’t believe their luck when a panel of judges from Microsoft, the NHS and Public Health selected their mental health idea, aptly named ‘Peaceful Paradise,’ to go forth and be developed this summer.

Over 1,000 year six children, their friend and families here in Wakefield have been part of the competition hosted by local GP federation, West Wakefield Health and Wellbeing. Since it began, two health apps co-designed by local youngsters have been launched and available for download on iOS, android and Windows. Sandal Castle’s concept will become part of the already popular ‘Healthy Island’ app, co-designed and launched by last year’s winners, Horbury Bridge Academy.

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If developing and seeing their own ideas come to life wasn’t enough, runners up from Ossett South Parade, together with the winners from Sandal Castle, can also look forward to a behind-the-scenes exclusive day at Microsoft’s Rare Studios learning how the games of tomorrow are made.

Reflecting on what was a hugely difficult judging process, Dr Chris Jones, Programme Director at West Wakefield, and one of the judges, said: “Once again, we’ve been blown away by the standard of entries from such incredibly talented youngsters. Every single team had meticulously considered not just how to convey important key health messages but how they could get these across in a fun way, that only kids know how.”

West Wakefield Project Lead, Emma Savage said: “The App Challenge doesn’t just stop on the screen or in the school playground. It’s about how we encourage our youngsters to keep active, stay healthy and continue these behaviours at home and into later life. We are hugely excited about this competition going nationwide from next school year so it can benefit thousands more families across the country.”