Community-focused app delivers positive outcomes during COVID-19

30 Jun 2022

An innovative app developed by City of Newcastle (CN) as part of its $5.5 million COVID-19 Community Economic Resilience Package (CERP), generated more than 68,000 acts of kindness and injected more than $390,000 into local businesses to get them back on their feet.

The app, which ceases today, was developed to combat the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

More than 8,500 registered users downloaded the Lean In Newy app since it was launched in June 2020. Users participated in over 68,000 wellbeing-focused challenges via the app, which resulted in a wide range of community-based outcomes including over 150 blood donations, around 850 donations to charity and more than 5200 volunteer hours.

Every challenge earnt the user points to be redeemed through vouchers and discounts at 185 local businesses and charities. CN fully reimbursed participating businesses for more than 4800 vouchers redeemed for rewards offered through the app.

The initiative successfully connected local businesses and charitable organisations seeking support with people that genuinely wanted to help during height of the COVID-19-induced downturn, providing a platform to engage and propel people’s behaviours.

Charitable organisations like OzHarvest registered with Lean In Newy to seek more volunteers, with the extra help allowing them to meet the increased demand from people experiencing food insecurity during the economic downturn, while local business owners reported an increase in sales as a result of participating as a reward partner.

City of Newcastle invested $95,000 in rebate funding via the Lean In Newy app as part of its CERP, which led to more than $390,000 of direct stimulus invested back into local businesses, returning four times the initial investment.

In addition to the Lean in Newy app, City of Newcastle's CERP delivered a range of financial relief, business and community support programs including rapid response grants aimed at supporting our vulnerable and emerging at-risk community members, online business training and mentoring programs, as well as economic development and community grants.

The CERP was formally acknowledged as the best response from a local government anywhere in NSW, with a second phase of support worth $2.5 million rolled out in 2021.

With communities continuing to move beyond the recovery phase from COVID-19, the support provided by the Lean In Newy app has been concluded, with thanks given to all those who participated.