Chesterfield embraces the Beat the Street challenge

 

Chesterfield’s popular Beat the Street game that took place earlier this year is being hailed as a success after a new report shows improvements in activity levels for adults and children across the borough.

The game was due to take place from 26th February to 8th April, but unfortunately had to be ended early on 23rd March, owing to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Beat the Street is designed to increase physical activity levels across a community and to connect individuals with their local environment. It has taken place in more than 100 towns and cities across the UK and beyond and supports long term behaviour change by making physical activity an enjoyable, integral part of everyday life.

More than 13,820 people took part in Chesterfield – more than 13 per cent of the population – and together walked, cycled, scooted, ran and wheeled 143,000 miles. Forty schools took part and 71 community teams signed up. In the first week of the game, more than 8,000 people registered to play and on day one, the game was so popular that two card distribution points ran out of stock.

A new report produced by Intelligent Health, the company that delivers Beat the Street, has shown that players became more physically active as a result of taking part, helping improve the health of people across Chesterfield and beyond.

Participants were surveyed at the start of the game and immediately after to see if their activity habits had changed, taking lockdown into consideration. A total of 6,753 participants registered their cards and 955 participants completed the exit survey. Prior to the start of the game, 26% of adult respondents in Chesterfield were physically inactive – that is, they did less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week and 22% of children were less active (less than 30 minutes of physical activity every day).

Key results from the report include:

  1. After the Beat the Street game, there was a 6% decrease in adult inactivity
  2. A 10% increase in adults meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines
  3. 4% increase in cycling
  4. 18% increase in children becoming active
  5. 20,000 Beat Box swipes on day one

Despite the anxiety caused by lockdown measures, feedback was effusive and positive, with many players reporting that Beat the Street had helped encourage them to walk or cycle more often, visit new places and spend more time with their friends and family. One participant visited every Beat Box in the game and said: “Beat the Street is the best thing ever to happen to Chesterfield. Never have there been so many children, parents, individuals on the streets, roads of Chesterfield and surrounding area. It is the most talked about subject at the moment. We will certainly miss it when it ends, though we will continue our bike rides and walks around the Peaks and newly found routes around Chesterfield.”

Another added: “Beat the Street meant we spent more time as a family helping our school achieve points. We connected with people outside of school hours and had lots of fun. It allowed us to enjoy cycling so much now that we are continuing to get out and about even in lock down as it means we travel further and see more in 1 hour. Loved every part of Beat the Street”.

Children reported that the game had brought the family together to spend time doing exercise.

“I’m autistic and loved being out and about with my family. It helped me communicate a lot more and interact with my family doing something I really loved. Looking forward to doing it all again. Thank you so very much.”

Councillor Jill Mannion-Brunt, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “The response to Beat the Street was great, our communities got behind this initiative and I enjoyed getting out and about and meeting lots of new people who were taking this opportunity to get more active. It is a shame that the game was interrupted by the Coronavirus crisis but I think we will see more people walking and cycling around the borough as we move into the recovery phase and this is great for both the environment and the health of our residents.”

Beat the Street was delivered by Intelligent Health in partnership with Chesterfield Borough Council and is funded as part of a £3.3 million National Lottery grant through Sport England and Chesterfield Health and Wellbeing Partnership.

 

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