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An app is encouraging small acts of kindness at Edinburgh Festival

Deedit will track small good deeds and show they contribute to wider social change

Ian Woodhead Edinburgh Fringe Flickr

An experimental app to tackle social issues including homelessness and the environment has been rolled out in Edinburgh for the festival season.

Deedit encourages users to carry out small acts of kindness such as buying a sandwich for a stranger or collecting litter off the street. People can use their phones to track how their good deeds contribute to wider social change.

The app is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and Tesco Bank. Organisers are recording all the deeds carried out to measure the difference ‘kind-hearted’ people are making in the capital.

Users who take part can post pictures once the deeds are completed to share what they have been doing and encourage others to participate.

The app is being trialled in the Scottish capital during August for the busy festival season to get the widest possible reach. It may be rolled out more widely afterwards.

The combined audience of Edinburgh’s annual festival programme is more than four million, and Convention Edinburgh estimates only the Olympic Games and the World Cup exceed the number of tickets sold for Edinburgh’s festival events.

The Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, sells around two million tickets alone every year.

Chris Speed, the director of the Centre for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, said: “One of the challenges we face is helping people understand the impact new data technologies will have on their lives.

“Co-designing imaginative, human-centred experiences with the financial sector here in Edinburgh demonstrates that the city is becoming a world lead in fintech design.”

He added that the partnership with Tesco Bank had been a ‘fantastic help’ in bringing the project to fruition.

One of the challenges we face is helping people understand the impact new data technologies will have on their lives

The initiative also involves Edinburgh-based homelessness charity Social Bite. Several of the deeds listed on the app support their work, such as buying a meal or coffee for someone at their cafes or joining their Sleep in the Park event.

Deeds to help the capital go green include ‘plogging’ – a new Scandinavian craze of litter picking while jogging – as well as refusing to use plastic straws or buying a reusable coffee cup.

App developers hope the final series of kind acts will help promote a better community spirit in Edinburgh. Someone looking lost or reading a map? Help them find their way. Alternatively donate something to a charity you care about.

And a good deed which everyone can do each week, whether using Deedit or not, is to buy a copy of The Big Issue from their local vendor.

Image: ian_woodhead1/Flickr

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