citizen engagement

Walkers Group Santander: Reducing loneliness through outdoor activities that strengthen social and mental resilience of citizens

Team: Dirige in2 Social

Walkers Group Santander developed a mobile application for citizens to organise social walking events and record their outdoor activities. This resulted in improving the citizens’ mental and physical health, and reduced the feeling of loneliness among them.

The Team

The key members include: Monica Quijano (DIRIGE-In2Social Programme), Soledad Tena (Preservera), Victor Herrara (Insetec Multimedia), Carmen Caso, Javier Figueroa (Volunteer coordinator)


"We researched the general trends in Santander: the alarming increase in the number of people over 65 living alone, the increasing number of family units formed by a single person, the situation of inactivity that generates an emotional burden of loneliness. We wanted to create cultural and formative options that improve people’s quality of life.”



1. Classified citizens’ physical activity profiles based on our preliminary research.

2. Organised work groups to lead the development and management of the experiment.
3. Developed and implemented a co-creation strategy to engage all relevant stakeholders and social participants.

4. Form partnerships with companies and institutes who share our goals, based on our strategy.

5. Identified accessible routes to walk through the city of Santander then classified them by their degree of difficulty, duration and distance. These data was incorporated into the app, for educating the citizens about healthy habits.

Experiment outcome The app organises and coordinates citizen groups to go out for a walk through the city and volunteer to spread the word.

Communication campaign: The volunteers spread the word through posters and brochures on the streets, medical centers, hospitals and public landmarks.

Improved quality of life for users: In the period of the first 3 weeks of regular activity, they recognised an improved physical and mental health, for example by feeling relieved from a chronic pain.

User data: To enhance the experience, the app collected data about user’s profile, habits, behavioural patterns and locations.

Lessons learned

    1. Some groups of citizens need to be introduced to a use of mobile app.
      Senior citizens, our target user group, have a low adoption rate of new technologies and mobile apps so we dedicated resources to teach them how to use the app.

Dirige in2 Social Website

What happened & what's next?

  • We have extended our work to other cities and focused on different citizen groups (young women, companies, etc ..)
  • The experiment was selected by Ausin Espana (León's University) and NERTRA is contributing to the launch and educating the citizens about the New Age of Autonomous Transport.
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