Intelligent Health, the company that runs a successful walking and cycling initiative called Beat the Street, has unveiled a new drive to improve the health of the nation by building active communities.
The company has relaunched this week with a renewed commitment to reducing inactivity across whole communities. This follows the Government’s consultation on sport.
Intelligent Health was set up by Dr William Bird, a GP who has had a life-long commitment to getting people outdoors and active.
Intelligent Health believes there are 10 factors that must work together to create an active community; these are community, culture, education, health, leaders, media, nature, sport, transport and urban design.
Dr Bird said: “If we want to improve the health and wellbeing of the country we need to be ambitious, provide a clear narrative to get people active and support them on their journey. Physical activity has more health benefits than any other single intervention and is the means to a healthy community.
“We need to focus on becoming an active nation by involving whole communities. We believe if these sectors work together there can be a strong platform to build happy, healthy places where we would all choose to live.”
Intelligent Health has recently received a funding boost of £300,000 from Mercia Fund Management to help expand the programme into new markets and to develop new activity programmes.
Mercia Fund Management is one of the leading investors in UK technology and the wholly-owned subsidiary of Mercia Technologies PLC, and has invested in Intelligent Health to help the Reading-based company to continue scaling the business nationally and internationally, as well as building on the company’s strong relationships with local government authorities and NHS clinical commissioning groups.
Since formation, Intelligent Health’s services have been taken up successfully across England and Scotland, as well as in Europe and the US.
Included in Intelligent Health’s core services is the community-based activity challenge, Beat the Street, which turns an area into a real-life walking game using RFID Smart card readers which are placed on lamp-posts.
Players can join teams and win prizes by taking part; however, the aim of the competition is to help participants to develop life-long activity habits.
The initiative has seen a great deal of success — in 2015 alone, 20 locations and 132,200 residents in England, Scotland, Italy and Poland have played. Current projects include four boroughs around the Olympic Park in East London, Hounslow and Basingstoke.
Peter Dines, Investment Director and Head of Life Sciences at Mercia, said: “This is an area that Mercia has been seeking to get involved in for some time now and I am truly pleased to identify Intelligent Health as what we believe to be a leading early stage player in this field. The company represents an exciting opportunity to support a scientifically proven technology that is capable of tackling one of the most pressing global issues.
“Intelligent Health also benefits from a renowned clinical champion as its CEO, a strong management team and a good sales pipeline, which will allow it to expand both nationally and internationally, not to mention make a positive change to the lives of millions.”
Dr William Bird, CEO of Intelligent Health, said: “Intelligent Health is at an exciting stage in its development and I am delighted that Mercia Fund Management has come on board to support our growth. They have unparalleled expertise in the advancement of pioneering businesses, understand our vision and can help us build active communities on a greater scale. We look forward to a dynamic, productive relationship.”