In the summer, Beat the Street celebrated turning 10! Join us in this special deep dive looking back at the last ten years and what’s upcoming for the award-winning programme.
Firstly, let’s have some stats, in 10 years of Beat the Street! 🎉 (* Totals include games up until 12 July 2023.)
- 161 schemes
- 1,729,887 players*
- 8,602 players/ scheme on average*
- 5118 schools*
- 14,324,127 miles travelled*
This month we are launching games in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Renfrewshire, Clydesdale, West Reading, and Trowbridge. Do you want Beat the Street in your local area? Send us a message!
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In June, you may have seen we held a parliamentary reception, ‘People and Places Fit for the Future’ in the House of Commons. Rt Hon Sir Alok Sharma MP KCMG, hosted the reception, he has supported Intelligent Health for many years and it was wonderful to have him join us again in the Churchill Room.
During the reception, we discussed unlocking the power that communities have to take ownership of their own health and wellbeing through connections to the natural environment and the people around them. We also formally released our latest evidence following an independent State of Life report. It looked at the success of Beat the Street in improving life satisfaction and generating £30 for every £1 in social and economic value.
Let’s listen to what the team behind the scenes said
I really love Beat the Street! I love every game start day and always feel nervous beforehand and check on first thing to see it’s all underway. I think we have genuinely created something that completely flips the traditional sport model and allows people to be active every day where they live – not compatmentalising it into a gym or sports field or cycle track. It’s not often you are part of something that transforms people’s lives and I am really proud to have played a role.
My favourite game still has to be the first one I played and lived as I turned up in the playground every morning to hear what people thought about it. The Beat Boxes were flaky so it wasn’t always positive but it was clear we were onto something special. My children have also been a testbed for ideas and are pretty harsh critics. I loved the permission it gave me to get my whole family out and active. I loved feeling part of a whole school challenge and of course the competitive element of beating bigger schools and my husband! I also loved connecting with where I lived, discovering places on my doorstep and meeting people at Beat Boxes across the town.
Since 2014 I have walked to our offices using the Beat Boxes journey that helped me learn how to travel the town actively. I am also still friends with mums from a walking group specifically set up to earn points. The game has gone but the connection remains. So, when people ask about sustainability I know that it really is in the small changes to behaviours that people learn to make. That’s me that is!
I started working on Beat the Street in 2017 looking after our digital content. I’ve seen the programme change and grow substantially in that time. We’ve seen vast improvements to the way the game runs, making the experience more enjoyable for players across the UK and overseas. I’ve also developed in my role in that time, coming in at a fairly low level and progressing over time to Head of Digital Marketing – it’s been an adventure!
It’s hard to pick out one stand out moment from the past 6 years but there are a few highlights for me. Our first game in Swindon really captured the imagination of local residents – not only was the game a big success, but people seemed to really love every minute of it. Another from a professional standpoint was our Llanelli game, which was the first bilingual game we’ve run. It was a challenge to ensure our website, and all comms and material gave equal precedence to both the English and Welsh languages. Everything went off without a hitch and the game was enjoyed by locals.
I think Beat the Street has a real opportunity to create lasting change in a community. At its best, we can bring together different organisations and authorities to consider what they can bring to the table not only to make the programme a success but also to ensure that residents are able to sustain their new physical activity levels long after the game has ended. I hope that we’re able to continue that work in local communities for many years to come.
I’ve been at Intelligent Health since 2012, doing a whole menagerie of roles from office space finder to engagement coordinator, project manager, sales and now I am a Director with a seat on the board. I have been fortunate enough to see the programme grow from a 2 school game, to a whole community programme which really is open to all. All Beat the Street programmes are special and memorable in their own way, whether it is because of the staggering number of people that get their shoes on and take to the pavements, walk ways and green spaces or because of the qualitative feedback that we hear from our players.
My favourite programme was in Caversham in 2013. We decided to take the programme from a secondary schools game to a whole community programme. The whole team took to the streets to meet people and hand out cards, come rain or shine. I visited all of the schools to provide assemblies to excited children and equally excited Head teachers. The buzz and anticipation was was palpable, a walk down the high street saw shop windows emblazoned with Beat the Street posters created by children from the surrounding primary schools, each competing in the game to win books for their school and books for the library to benefit all residents of Caversham young and old.
There were stories of a child who struggled to make friends, becoming the school hero as she had taken to the streets on her scooter with her mum collecting points for her school and taking them to the top of the leaderboard. There was the elderly lady who lived a solitary life having come to Reading to be with family who had moved away. On seeing another lady swiping her card at a lamppost, asked the newsagent what it was all about. This led to her joining in the game and becoming weekly coffee buddies with the lady she had initially spotted at the lamp post. An unplanned for legacy of Beat the Street and perhaps, as with all of these stories that we are fortunate enough to hear about through working on the programme, something that goes beyond numbers and captures the real essence!
We work collaboratively combining an affinity with local community settings and the strategic policy landscape, creating actionable insights that are grounded and impactful.
I have been working on Beat the Street programmes for almost six years now, and it’s been brilliant to track how the programme has developed over that time. We learn something new from each game we deliver and from the partners that we work with, so we are always challenged to make sure we are continuing to improve the experience for players and stakeholders. I love reading through all the positive comments from players and hearing stories about the impact Beat the Street has had on them.
Being part of the IH team is a real privilege. Working with great partners and seeing first-hand how playing Beat the Street gets players excited about being out and active , discovering their local area with friends and family.
In terms of shaping policy, Beat the Street has brought with it a wealth of community insight not typically seen in its scale. A decade of the game means a decade of data, that we are able to highlight when calling for change in areas such as tackling physical inactivity, community cohesion, access to nature and promoting active travel. We are now in the early stages of seeing the impact of this data in promoting the importance of community-based behaviour change programmes from a policy perspective.
I was first introduced to Beat the Street in 2022 and joined as a Digital Delivery Manager. I quickly realised that the true value of this game is not in the technology which delivers Beat the Street, but with the people who mobilise and participate in order to create a truly unique experience within towns and communities across the UK and beyond. As Digital Delivery Manager, my focus is not to bring digital to the forefront of the experience, but instead to ensure that the team have the correct platform upon which to continue delivering a successful behaviour change programme to as many people as possible.
Director of Burnley Leisure and Culture, Paul Foster shared:
We are taking an asset-based approach, working with the strengths of the town. It’s helped us realise it’s about resilience, strength and connecting with nature. Following Beat the Street, we have 12,000 people who participated, we are using that opportunity to encourage people to be aware of the bigger issues like the environment and climate action. It made people sit up and take notice because it was of sufficient scale. The programme gave us so much more than people just being active, it acts as a catalyst to a lot of things that have happened. Intelligent Health will help us achieve this identity of an #OutdoorTown in Burnley.
Public Health Manager of Dudley Council, Balraj Johal noted:
Following on from our successful Beat the Street programme in Dudley, we commissioned Intelligent Health to carry out some insight work into transport behaviour. This is to inform how we could try and support transport behaviour change with the Metro extension infrastructure coming to the borough. We have been really pleased with how IH have taken on board our vision and aspiration for the work, but at the same time required only a light touch from ourselves and partners in steering the insight work. IH have worked hard to ensure they have captured the breadth of the community voice using a broad range of methods to allow residents to contribute their thoughts.