Volunteer FAQs - Database
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the database. For more information please consult our database section.
If you have any other queries that are not answered below please get in touch.
A national online database which holds information on walkers and walks, as input by walk schemes. It is managed by the Walking for Health national centre, and is provided by BTCV (formerly known as the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers). It was developed in conjunction with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in order to provide high quality evidence with which to evaluate walk schemes.
We will soon be launching our new database. This will replace the current database and OHQ with a more advanced and easier to use system. Find out more about the new database and how you can get your scheme ready here.
Link to the database: http://database.walkingforhealth.org.uk
It is for organisations that deliver walk schemes (Local Authorities, NHS bodies, County Sports Partnerships, Voluntary Groups etc.) to monitor and evaluate their schemes; and for the national centre to evaluate Walking for Health as a public health intervention and report the findings, helping to secure future national and local funding and support from government and other organisations.
It stores information about walkers taken from completed Outdoor Health Questionnaires, and information about walks and walk schemes as entered by you. Finally, joining it all together is the information from the walk registers that you collect, which provides a ‘walk history’ that can tell you such things as:
- Who is walking, by age band, gender, ethnicity, health condition etc.
- How many people are walking, how often, and for how many hours
- Total attendance over time
- Number of new walkers joining over time
And much more. See our database page for more information and a user guide.
Because we don't need this information the emergency contact fields will eventually be removed from the database.
But we understand the reassurance that having this information can give to walk leaders. So we’ve provided a template for an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card in our leading a walk kit that schemes can give to walkers instead. It will be the responsibility of the walkers to carry this information with them if they wish to.
The information and reports available from the database provide you with evidence that enables you to:
- Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your Walk Schemes – are you achieving what you set out to achieve?
- Promote the success of your schemes using robust data.
- Report to funders and stakeholders.
- Track your progress, e.g. in targeting priority groups in your community.
Kelly Massey, a scheme coordinator based in Derbyshire, tells us: “The database is worth its weight in gold and allows us to pull off accurate data as and when required.”
Since it went live in mid-2008, the database has been used by over 500 walk schemes.
It certainly is, though like anything it may take you a short while to get used to how it works.
Mike, a Walking for Health walker who volunteered to help his scheme with entering data, says “it takes just a few minutes to enter the register after each walk; likewise entering the details of a new walk or walker. It’s very simple. Once you’ve logged in and reached the main menu the system does most of the work; it’s largely a question of ticking boxes.”
There are five main steps to using it:
1. Add details of your walk scheme
2. Add details of your walks
3. Add details of your walkers from their OHQs
4. Add your walk registers (on an ongoing basis)
Once all the above are done, you can run your reports
This is up to you, but we recommend you do them as soon as you can after the walk, or perhaps set a time aside each week – it only takes a few minutes. This will prevent them stacking up, and will ensure your data is up-to-date and accurate.
Yes – walker records can only be accessed by
- Database users from the walker's own walk scheme
- A limited number of staff at the Walking for Health national centre who work with the database.
Walker contact details (address, phone number etc.) are further protected - access to these is limited to those who need to view them, e.g. those responsible for inputting and editing walker details.
- Access to the database is by login only, and all new users must have their access approved by their Scheme Co-ordinator or Walking for Health national centre member of staff.
- All user activity on the database is traceable in the event of misuse.
- The national centre regularly reviews and removes the login details of inactive users.
One of our key areas of work in 2013 is a full review of data collection and management. We believe there are opportunities to make the process simpler and more streamlined for walkers, walk leaders and schemes, while retaining the robustness of the evidence base, which has clearly made a vital contribution to the longevity of Walking for Health and reputation as a project.
Any new systems will be developed and implemented in close consultation with schemes and with other stakeholders both to ensure that it meets practical needs and retains credibility as an evaluation tool. If you have any comments or suggestions please contact us.