Today (30 August 2023), the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published its first sport strategy since 2015’s ‘Sporting Future.’
Co-designed with Sport England and the wider sport and physical activity sector, the new strategy ‘Get Active’ has ambitions to increase the number of physically active people by 3.5 million by 2030. This forms part of a wider goal of increasing activity levels and sport participation following a decline in activity levels reported in the latest Active Lives data. Through the new strategy, DCMS places focus on the health benefits of reducing mass inactivity, putting in place steps to ensure that children now and future generations adopt a lifetime habit of being physically active.
The 3 core priorities as outlined in the strategy are:
- Being unapologetically ambitious in making the nation more active, whether in government or in the sport sector.
- Making sport and physical activity more inclusive and welcoming for all so that everyone can have confidence that there is a place for them in sport.
- Moving towards a more sustainable sector that is more financially resilient and robust.
Beat the Street has been recognised as a case study in the new strategy to drive participation and address inactivity (page 47). Beat the Street is an engagement platform that gets people active through creating social norms that encourage long-term behaviour change, primarily related to walking, wheeling and cycling for health and community cohesion. Referencing findings from a previous game in Hounslow, the strategy document acknowledges analysis that found the number of players doing less than 30 minutes of activity per week decreased by 7% and those reporting more than 150 minutes of activity increased by 13%.
This recommendation from DCMS follows recognition from the Department for Transport in its Active Travel: local authority toolkit, which also cites Beat the Street as an example of using gamification to change active travel behaviour.
Dr William Bird MBE, CEO of Intelligent Health said:
“With the release of the new Sport Strategy, DCMS has become the second UK government department to recommend Beat the Street as a walking, wheeling and cycling behaviour change programme!
Over 1.7 million people have played Beat the Street since 2013. Having delivered across 160 areas over this time, we know that by bringing people together and adding an element of adventure and curiosity to small everyday changes has the greatest opportunity to increase physical activity and in turn, health outcomes in the most inactive communities. Engaging whole communities at this scale would not have been made possible without the continued support we receive from our national partners, Sport England, Paths for All and the Canal & River Trust.
We thank DCMS for our inclusion within the Strategy, recognising the role that interventions like Beat the Street play in increasing participation. The power that sport and physical activity has to build stronger and more cohesive communities is vast and at a time where many of us are becoming more socially isolated, it’s important that we continue to amplify this message and improve accessibility for all.”