The popular Beat the Street game that returned to Swindon from September to November 2019 is being hailed as a success once again after a new report shows improvements in activity levels for adults and children across the borough.
This was the second time the town’s residents had played the game and this time, nearly 26,000 people walked, ran and cycled 252,127 miles. Sixty-nine schools got involved with the initiative, with six out of 10 primary school children taking part.
A new report produced by Intelligent Health, the company that delivers the initiative with funding from Sport England, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire and Swindon Sport Partnership, has surveyed participants and results show that participants became more physically active as a result of taking part.
Participants were surveyed at the start of the game and immediately after to see if their activity habits had changed. Key results show there was a decrease in the number of adults reporting less than 30 minutes of activity per week - nearly one in ten was doing more. There was also an increase in the number of adults reporting that they are doing the government’s guideline of 150 or more minutes of activity per week with nearly three in 20 people doing more.
As with the first Beat the Street game in 2018, the game helped encourage them to walk or cycle more often, visit new places and spend more time with their friends and family. One participant said: “I recently lost my job and spent a lot of time inside and was becoming very annoyed by being in the same four walls. By doing Beat the Street it got me out the house. By doing exercise it was making me tired which meant I was sleeping better. It also gave me quality time with my boys and something we could bond over as I don't really get involved with computers or football so it made me happier.”
The player who travelled the furthest in 2018, went one better in 2019 and ran, walked and cycled more than 2,500 miles. Greg Wells, a passionate parkrunner, clocked an amazing tally of 80,000 points, three times more than he achieved in 2018.
He has travelled further than anyone else who has played Beat the Street in the UK and beyond, and is score is higher than many team totals.
Greg said: “I loved Beat the Street– I like a physical challenge and I did go around other areas of Swindon and discovered new parts of the town I didn’t know. Anything that gets people off the sofa, perhaps people who don’t normally do exercise, is great and it was good to see people getting out there and being active with their children.”
Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added: “We’re delighted at the findings in this report and to see the legacy left by Beat the Street. The scheme really was the talk of the town and continues to encourage local residents to get more active and improve the health and wellbeing for everyone across the borough.”
As part of this, Beat the Street Swindon is back for one day with a Street Orienteering event taking place on Saturday, 1st February at the Link Centre from 10.30am to 1.30pm, with registrations open from 10.30-12.00. Visit the North Wiltshire Orienteers website for full details – www.northwilts.org.uk.