Preston pals jumping for joy over app success

GREAT IDEA: Isabel Higginson and Anna Welch of Newman College
GREAT IDEA: Isabel Higginson and Anna Welch of Newman College
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Fit kids are ‘appy kids – especially pals Isabel Higginson and Anna Welch.

For the friends are jumping for joy after an app they designed as part of a national competition has been shortlisted from over 900 to the last 20, putting them in the running for a £15,000 prize.

The duo, who met at All Hallows Catholic High School and both attend Cardinal Newman College in Preston, entered the Princes Trust’s iDEA competition for something to do.

Their idea, for a fitness app aimed at the seven to 12 year olds, has proved such a hit they have already won support from South Ribble Council - and if they get down to the last 10 the app could become a reality.

Isabel, 16, who lives in Hutton, said: “We had an email round about September time and just decided to go for it and signed up.

“We thought about it and looking around you see that most young people are just on their phones all the time, being lazy and not doing sport. So we thought about making fitness fun. There are loads of fitness apps out there but they are all aimed at adults.

“We designed the app around a game that doesn’t allow the player to advance through the levels without doing various exercises and the pedometer on the smartphone picks up the movement.

“The idea is to work through various levels and receive rewards which can be redeem for things like free swimming sessions and so on.”

Isobel and Anna, 17, from Penwortham, did a lot of homework, talking to pupils at local primary schools, and putting together a business plan.

After reaching the top 100 they were invited down to London to pitch their idea before moving onto the next stage.

Reaching the top 20, besides being given a mentor, they reaped a cash reward for them to create an animation, so they enlisted the support of an animator in Bristol and if they get through to the top 10 will have to go to Buckingham Palace to present their brief.

The top three will receive £15,000 to pay for it to be made and patented.

Isabel added: “We are not really sporty people. We play badminton and I sometimes go running but it was more than we just see young people on phones rather than exercising so wanted to do something about that.”

She added: “We knew absolutely nothing about industry or technology before we started and have learned so much - from setting up a web page to doing the business plan and going into schools and getting people to support us.

South Ribble Council pledged 100 free swimming sessions as prizes already.”

They have also put a video about fit kidz on YouTube and a Twitter account.

Anna, is studying for A-levels in physics, biology, chemistry and maths while Isobel is doing maths, economics, German and Spanish.