- One in four people in England do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, which classes them as inactive*. While a shocking four out of five primary school children do not get the recommended amount of daily exercise of 60 minutes a day.
- The National Lottery funding from Sport England will double the reach of Beat the Street in England** by developing another 59 games in the South West and East Midlands. The new games will support over 655,000 people to get active – many of whom will be taking their very first steps into activity.
An innovative new physical activity programme which uses the technology found in high street reward cards to turn cities and towns into giant, mass participation games, is rolling out across the country, thanks to a new £3.32 million National Lottery grant from Sport England.
Beat the Street encourages people to get outside and get active in their local area by placing ‘Beat Boxes’ in green spaces, areas of local interest and community hubs. Players, who are often children and families, tap the boxes using special cards to gain points for their schools or community groups – with leading scorers winning prizes.
Beat the Streets is the brainchild of Dr William Bird MBE, an expert in advanced health initiatives and the founder of Intelligent Health. Thanks to the £3.32 million National Lottery grant from Sport England, Beat the Street is now set to roll out to a further 59 towns across the South West and East Midlands over the next three years.
Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said: “Beat the Street is an innovative and fun way to get young people active. It’s already having a great impact in communities around the country and I’m delighted that National Lottery investment is helping it expand to benefit thousands more children.”
One of the players of the Swindon Beat the Street game, Amina Amawi, said: “Beat the street has been amazing for us as a family as it has got us out of the house being active together. With my disabled children, it’s not always easy to find something we can all do together. I love that there is no discrimination of any kind — if you can breathe you can take part. We are absolutely loving it. A massive thank you to the people who thought of this – it’s so much fun.”
Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England commented: “Beat the Street has already helped thousands of people get more active, and Sport England is delighted to be investing £3.32 million of National Lottery funding to help launch a further 59 Beat the Street Games at towns and cities around the country, helping over 650,000 people get active. By getting people outside, socialising, and exploring their local area, Beat the Street makes being active fun no matter how fit you are. It’s just the kind of innovative project Sport England is proud to work with as part of our strategy Towards an Active Nation.”
Intelligent Health surveys players immediately after the game and six months later to evaluate the success of the programmes. Key findings from a Sport England pilot showed that participants increased their weekly walking by 180 minutes per week and their overall levels of physical activity by 335 minutes per week. The programme will help get families active and focus on reaching women and those who live in areas of deprivation.
Dr William Bird said: “Walking isn’t just a physical activity, it’s a social interaction where people can connect with the outdoors and rediscover their roots.
“As doctors our role is based on reaction, we recommend activity and prescribe medicine, but Beat the Street focuses on preventing illnesses in the first place. Moving upstream from the NHS, we are changing behaviours in whole towns and whole cities. It’s amazing to see people taking ownership and mass participation with some schemes having over 40,000 people playing in just a week or two. Thanks to this National Lottery funding from Sport England we’re going to be able to double the reach of Beat the Street, delivering 59 new games, helping another 655,000 get active.”
Dr Bird promotes prevention as the best medicine. Whether it is families spending time together, teachers organising walks or neighbours meeting each other, people are getting out and active by taking part in Beat the Street.
*(25.7%, Sport England Active Lives Survey, Nov 2016-17).
** The new National Lottery funding from Sport England will double the reach of the game in England. To date 850,000 people, in 72 towns and cities across the UK and Europe have taken part, 56 were in England with nearly 653,000 people taking part.