Apprentice’s view behind the scenes of the Lunar Challenge

Ciaran Bromley is four months into his apprenticeship role as an FA Women’s Football Development Officer at Hartpury College. Due to the pandemic, he has had to adapt and helped deliver the Lunar Challenge.

So, we spoke to Ciaran to get a unique insight into his role in promoting the challenge, maintaining the interest, and creating a community.

 What was your role in the challenge?

My focus was on the bigger picture -getting the leaderboard information and updating it weekly and advertising the challenge as widely as possible across the college. I sent it to the marketing team to promote and included updates in all staff emails.

I spent my Sunday evenings checking the miles. I put a lot of time into it. We wanted to make it as good as possible to get inactive students active and set up a community within Hartpury.

I liked dealing with the data, seeing our progression and getting people involved. Knowing everyone was behind everyone and getting a community going motivated me to keep going. It’s helped me a lot in my role.

When I see other people achieving it helps me achieve more. I want to make sure it’s perfect, the best it can be because it makes it better for everyone.

What methods did you use?

We made sure it was advertised really well and there were lots of prizes available. We had a goal in mind, we wanted to hit 15,000 miles and 3,000 activities. [They managed 16,140 miles and 5,160 activities].

The difference in participation from the Around the World Challenge last year was massive – We had 141 runners and cyclists for Around the World, compared to 474 runners and 189 riders for the Lunar Challenge. The figures were amazing. I thought we would get more people involved this time but it was beyond my expectations.

Who did you work with in your college?

We set up Strava groups across different college departments. Eg animal management, equine management. Instead of focusing on a big group we created individual groups with tutors so people could look at what others were doing on their course or department.

People couldn’t be physically active in college so it was a good way of keeping active during the lockdown and maintaining wellbeing. By taking part some of the students might not have realised it but they were looking after their wellbeing at the same time.

How did you engage with students?

We made sure there was something for everyone. We tried to make it as open to everyone as possible. At the end of the day, wellbeing was key during the lockdown and we wanted to do our best to keep everyone positive.

We ran the lunar bingo challenge – we chose a planet theme for each week and we focussed on hitting a weekly target. We also themed it to take photos. For example, one week was nature, the next was colours and so on.

 

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It got engagement with the students because we offered prizes like winning a Hartpury t-shirt.

We could see the students were getting more active as the weeks went by.

How did you keep up the momentum?

When the college was doing well, we got kudos and likes on the Strava group which built up the momentum and built up a community spirit. We were all working together for one goal.

We also ran a competition – if they completed three activities a week they could win a Garmin watch and that kept engagement up, especially for students who weren’t that active. It wasn’t about how many miles they were doing, it was about what they were doing.

How did you motivate students?

It’s important to recognise that different students have different motivations. Some want to do well within their tutor groups, instead of looking at the main leaderboard and the bigger picture.

For other students, it was the weekly bingo. We had one student who took photos during the challenge. Photography was something they enjoyed doing so they could keep active while doing something they liked.

What have you learnt from the experience?

My key learning is to always be consistent. If I had lost consistency of the promotion then I don’t think it would have got as much engagement.  People might not have seen the challenge in the first week, but they saw it in the third week and got involved. That’s why it was so important to keep promoting it every week.

Trying to be enthusiastic about it each week was key to getting more students and staff involved. Rounding up the achievements each week really helped support everyone. I tried to be a motivator.

Hartpury finished third in the national leaderboard, contributing 16,140 miles and completing 5,160 activities during the seven-week challenge.

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