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21 September 2016

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council seeks local families to test run ‘Kids ‘n Castles’ phone app

Carrickfergus Castle is to be the focus as Mid and East Antrim Borough Council test runs a new phone app that will encourage family visits to the historic ramparts.

This is part of a wider digital project with Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council through the Mid-Antrim Heritage Partnership.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE said: “We are looking for volunteer families - with at least one child aged between five and eight years old - to take part in testing a new iPhone app.This will be used for actively exploring Carrickfergus’ Walls on Saturday 8 October,” she said.

The app has been developed for the Council by Airsource, a Cambridge-based mobile app specialist company. ‘Kids ‘n Castles’ aims to encourage families to explore Carrickfergus’ historic walls and its relationship with Carrickfergus Castle as well as Antrim Castle Gardens, to be tested separately the following day.

This app, available on iPhone, is tailored for families with children from five to eight years old. It aims to encourage families to actively explore these historically significant sites and together learn more about them.

“We are looking for local families who are willing to come and trial/test sections of the app relating to Carrickfergus on October 8 so we can observe its use in a real situation and through their feedback, see what improvements should make before its launch,” continued Cllr Wales.

The app will send the whole family out to find items/places around the walls that have Bluetooth beacons attached.
“When they are close enough to the i-beacon, their iPhone will show the item as found and will display information about it and a game, quiz or some other activity,” added the Mayor.

“It may also give users audio, video or photos to look through. They will then be able to win ‘virtual awards’ if they find multiple items. The app will include a map to show where they need to go,” Cllr Wales concluded.

To take part, families must have one child within the age range 5-8 (but extra children outside this age range are more than welcome).
They need to available on the 8 October for one of three sessions (10am, 1pm or 3pm). A session will not last longer than two hours and is likely to be closer to an hour and a half which will include an hour out exploring.

Participants must be able to make their way independently to Carrickfergus Town Hall, 10 minutes before each session start time. The Dobbs Room in the Town Hall will be the start and end point of each session.

It is required that families have some previous experience using apps on a smartphone to get the most from their experience.
If families have an iPhone 5 or later that is running iOS 9 that will be a major benefit but officers will have some devices to borrow for the purposes of the test.Then, after families have finished, a discussion with the project team - to include the children - will be facilitated to explore how those taking part found it. This will be also in the Dobbs Room, Carrickfergus Town Hall, with snacks available.

•To sign up please contact Visitor Information on T: 028 9335 8241 or
•Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Castle Gardens will be tested separately on Sunday 9 October, please contact Antrim Castle Gardens directly for further details.

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