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Intelligent Health, the health engagement and insight company behind the popular Beat the Street games, has signed an agreement with the Canal & River Trust which aims to encourage people to discover the wellbeing benefits of their local canal.

The two organisations have previously worked together alongside local councils and partners on several Beat the Street games including competitions taking place in Blaby, Leicester, Burnley, Dudley and Birmingham.

Shared goals include connecting local people to waterways to increase physical activity and wellbeing.

Working with place-based partners, the partnership will co-ordinate the roll-out of the Beat the Street programme across more of the Canal & River Trust waterways with a particular focus on priority areas including communities where green space deficit is most pronounced.

The Canal & River Trust looks after and brings to life 2,000 miles of waterways. With ever increasing rates of obesity, stress and declining mental health in the UK, the Trust is uniquely placed to make a significant contribution to improving the wellbeing of millions of people. Canals and rivers run through some of the most heavily populated communities in England and Wales, providing accessible green and blue space where it’s needed the most. That is why the Trust works with volunteers and communities across England and Wales to transform canals and rivers into spaces where local people want to spend time, feel better and restore.

Founded by Dr William Bird MBE, Intelligent Health has a mission to create resilience and improve health by connecting people to each other, their communities and their environment. The method is to help people make small changes to behaviour that make a big difference. Intelligent Health build greater insight and engagement to enable partners to connect with their communities through knowledge, engagement and insight.

The flagship programme is Beat the Street which encourages whole communities to get active together. Beat the Street provides an evidence-based, population level, cost-effective behaviour change programme that creates a social norm around getting active. It connects people to each other and their environment and addresses health inequalities. More than 1.5 million people have taken part in over 150 locations. The sustainability is the behaviour change of participants and improved partner working.

Katrina Hull, participation development partner at Canal & River Trust, said: “We look after a network of free to access waterways on the doorstep for millions of people to use and enjoy. Partnering with Intelligent Health will help to further spread the word and to encourage people to make the most of these amazing wildlife-rich places to help improve both their physical and mental health.”

Debbie Chesterman, business development and partnerships manager at Intelligent Health, added: “Previous programmes have been hugely successful in terms of working in partnership with the Canal & River Trust and encouraging people to make the most of local blue and green spaces.

“With a shared vision of increasing the number of people who enjoy the benefits of walking and cycling alongside some of the country’s best assets, we know this partnership will be a huge success and can’t wait to deliver our next set of Beat the Street programmes.”

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