Annan and Dalbeattie have taken part in the most successful mass participation challenge ever as over 30% of the residents travelled round the world as they played Beat the Street!
Beat the Street has taken place in 20 areas in Europe and Britain this year including Italy, England and Poland but it is the Scottish towns that have supported the most residents walking, cycling and running. Funded by Dumfries and Galloway Council, on behalf of the Scottish Governments Smarter Choices Smarter Places, over one third of each town played the fun challenge which turns a neighbourhood into a real life game.
4,910 residents travelled over 182,000 miles in 6 weeks raising activity levels across the two communities. This equates to 39% of the population of Annan and 36% of Dalbeattie.
Dr William Bird, MBE, Chief Executive of Intelligent Health who created Beat the Street explained:
“The human body is designed to be on the move and getting active has more health benefits than any other single intervention. Globally, around 25% of adults are not active enough. In Annan and Dalbeattie the whole towns came together, bucked the trend and made a big difference to their health.”
Armed with a game card and a map, residents walk, cycle or run to work, to school or to the shops tapping their game card on ‘Beat Boxes’ placed throughout the neighbourhood. Tapping a Beat Box records a location, tapping two a journey. Players collate points by travelling and these contribute to a personal, a team and an overall community total. The aim of the game is to raise activity levels and improve sustainable transport. Both Annan and Dalbeattie embraced the challenge as 47 teams comprised of schools, community and businesses took part. The competition closed with a Bagpiper leading a procession through Annan on Monday 12 October.
Residents and officials from both towns have been delighted with the game.
Dumfries and Galloway Councillor Finlay Carson said:
“Beat the Street has been a massive success in Dalbeattie. It’s been brilliant to see so many people out at all times of the day tapping boxes as they move their way around the town. People have really taken to the initiative – even some of my Councillor colleagues!”
Dumfries and Galloway Councillor Ronnie Ogilvie said:
“Everywhere I go, there are people talking about the game and how much they are enjoying it. Over the past six weeks, we have seen some brilliant participation from individuals and groups including the football team; the schools who have taken part; the guides and the brilliant young superheroes from Hecklegirth. I have a box just outside my house — it’s great to see everyone walking past and tapping the box. From early in the morning to late in the evening, there have been people out taking part. The community spirit, interest and participation in Beat the Street has been fantastic. I am proud of the way that the town has engaged with it and enjoyed taking part.”
Local Ward Member and Dalbeattie postman Councillor Davie Stitt also spoke of his admiration for the initiative. He said:
“I’ve really enjoyed taking part in Beat the Street. The whole town’s been buzzing from day one right through until Monday’s finale earlier this week. When I’ve been on my rounds with the post bag, people have been striding past me, sometimes on their own and other times in their teams, going round beeping boxes. It’s created a sense of community spirit in Dalbeattie, with adults and children alike walking, cycling and skating around with a smile on their face. We will certainly be working hard to bring other fun initiatives to the town, in the hope that they also give Dalbeattie a buzz. I’ll even miss the wee kids whizzing by me on their bikes saying “Sorry Mr Stitt” as I play dodge-the-bike!”