FreeBay is a web application that helps families identify available subsidies and programs, source donated equipment, locate green spaces, and keep current on the most up to date return-to-sport requirements.

Our project was most inspired by recent findings that point to the devastating effect that Covid-19 has had economically, particularly on families in need. Knowing that Covid-19 is likely to widen the gap in terms of income inequality, our project addresses the concern that the current crisis will perpetuate existing systemic inequalities and further limit sport participation opportunities for marginalized populations.

The FreeBay web application will achieve this by facilitating the delivery of information on fee subsidy programs and how to access them. FreeBay will also create an online marketplace of used equipment available for donation and pickup within communities. Widening inequality means that there is a need to get children and families access to equipment that they typically only have access to through their club, facility, or or programming. With these opportunities suddenly unavailable, having equipment like tennis rackets, hockey sticks, and jump ropes available at home will become a necessity. FreeBay will also connect families to an inventory of green spaces and facilities available based on geo-location. Curating the most current guidelines related to return to sport, availability of parks and playgrounds, and opening of programs and making them easy to find and understand will be critical to the web application.

FreeBay will directly benefit children and their families, with parents/guardians as the primary user of the web application. Take for example, this user perspective uncovered during our design thinking phase and stakeholder interview:

Courtney, Kitchener, Ontario: “My son Eddy has neutropenia and is immunocompromised so during this uncertain time, my husband and I have decided not to send Eddy back to daycare or his regular swimming lessons and other activities. I’m constantly looking for new activities to keep him active but it has been difficult. There is so much out there but it is hard for me to keep track of the activities that might be safe and affordable for us to do.”

Users like Courtney need access to current information, the ability to sort through relevant information easily, and affordable options in absence of typical childcare. To view more details on our design thinking process:

In addition to parents and families, sport programs and municipalities will also benefit from a single source of information that is easily accessible, consolidated, and current. The ORCanada team would seek resources to develop the web application with a team of development experts. Consultation with stakeholders to develop means for evaluation through Bingo Impact Management would also be resourced. For more on Bingo Impact Management and the potential integration with FreeBay:

To ensure the app meets the needs of families, a series of focus groups and one-on-one interviews will be conducted with local community members, families and local organizations in the prototype development phase.

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