New phone app showcases Maryhill Activity Directory

A new smartphone app showing the vast choice of activities on offer in Maryhill is now online, thanks to a chance conversation between a local church minister and university lecturer.

It led to the popular Maryhill Activity Directory booklet being turned into a free online resource by a University of Glasgow student who took on the challenge as a summer project. The Maryhill congregation created the directory 15 years ago as a resource for local residents.

Pupils at Cleveden Secondary School
Pupils at Cleveden Secondary School photographed by Stuart Campbell

Now more than 500 local community events, fitness classes, drop in cafes and a wide range of courses are now just a tap away for residents in north Glasgow.

“Now no one can ever say there’s nothing to do in Maryhill!” says Rev Stuart Matthews, whose Church of Scotland congregation in Maryhill produced the first directory 15 years ago.

“We’re delighted with the app. Local people know their “M.A.D” booklet comes out every two years, but the 30,000 copies are essentially out of date as soon as they are issued.

Times or days of activities change and new things are happening all the time. Now all the information can be kept up to date online. It’s brilliant!”

“I was excited to get involved with this project as soon as Stuart and I saw the opportunity” says Quintin Cutts, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Glasgow.

“It’s the first time we’ve been involved in building a community app and to do it for Maryhill, which is right on our doorstep, makes it all the more satisfying.”

For the last two months, Masters student, Robbie Fryers, who’s from Northern Ireland, has been hard at work building the online activity directory into an app.

It’s now free to download on both Apple and Android devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Robbie says “It was a challenging project, and the sheer variety of activities the app had to cover was a surprise, but I’m really pleased with it. I think that this is the first time a Masters student has been able to publish an App online!”

The app was launched at Cleveden Secondary School where pupils were able to test it out on their own devices and see how easy it was to use.

Their feedback was really positive, and many said it was great so see the M.A.D app on their phones next to the likes of Snapchat and Instagram.

This is the seventh activity directory created by Jim Hamilton, who is Deacon at Maryhill Parish Church and Chair of the M.A.D. committee.

“The first one was tiny. It didn’t take long to produce. Over the years it’s grown into something local people say they really value, and it’s fantastic to be able to develop it into something people can access anywhere and anytime.

"All the booking information and contact numbers are now online. There can’t be many communities in Scotland which have an app like this. It’s great to see Maryhill leading the way, and I’m sure other groups will be looking at how they can do something similar.”