What’s next for Beat the Street in Colchester?

“Running Colchester” who ran to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, seen here celebrating 3rd Place on the Total Points Leaderboard and 2nd Place on the Average Points Leaderboard

The Post-Game Results

From September to November 2017, Colchester was transformed into a giant game thanks to Beat the Street. The unique physical activity initiative turns whole communities into a walking and cycling challenge with players tapping ‘Beat Boxes’ on lampposts across their area to win points and prizes.

13, 914 people took part in Beat the Street in Colchester, collectively travelling almost 100, 000 miles!

6105 of those players registered, answering a series of health and wellbeing questions, as well as information about their current levels of physical activity and sleep quality.

This provided us with valuable data about the types of people playing the game, as well as baseline information regarding activity levels. 20% of those provided follow up feedback immediately after the game ended. The post-game data has now been published and provided some really positive results.

Data linking each participants’ postcode at registration with English Index of Multiple Deprivation data was available for 3,515 of registered players, which showed that there was an even spread of participation across all areas of deprivation and there is evidence to suggest that there were increased levels of participation in some areas of high deprivation, where the population is often at risk of greater health inequalities. This provides us with positive evidence that Beat the Street has been inclusive and addressed health inequalities in Colchester.

During the game, there was a 3% increase in active travel and a 4% increase in the proportion of people meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity target of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. This is particularly encouraging at a time of year when active travel and activity levels would usually decrease.

The qualitative feedback featured lots of evidence of enhanced levels of family and community cohesion, and evidence of this continuing after the game finished.

Here are some of the wonderful comments we received:

“It encouraged a group of adults to meet for social runs together. As a result, the group is continuing to meet now Beat the Street has finished”
“It helped encourage our daughter to go out for walks. She also learnt to ride her bike confidently on her own during that time which has enabled us to now go for family bike rides”
St John’s Green Primary School who achieved 1st Place on the Total Points Leaderboard

Sustain phase

Having been successful in facilitating so many people to be more physically active during the game, how do we work together as a community to sustain those changes?

I currently chair a steering group, bringing together various organisations in the community to develop ideas around that very question.

According to ​Natural England’s MENE Report 2016, ​1.3 million (12%) children across England surveyed in 2015 had never visited the natural environment and over the past 20 years, evidence suggests that the area that children explore and play around their homes has reduced by up to 90%​.

We are currently considering how best to utilise and promote some of the beautiful green spaces in Colchester, making them accessible to all.

There will be a consultation and if you want to be involved, do get in touch. The steering group is an open forum -it’s your community and your health!

In addition to this, the social media pages are still open, with over 1200 followers on Facebook, and the newsletters continue, which go out to all of the registered players.

Via these channels, Beat the Street are able to share information about predominantly free activities available locally, and local engagement is ongoing to encourage people to get active.

Beat the Street Friends

As the Engagement Coordinator I have met so many wonderful people during and since the game who have agreed to become a Beat the Street Friend; people in the community who are advocates for physical activity.

I can share information that I am aware of, but no woman is an island! Beat the Street is a community game and the community of Colchester have already demonstrated just how much can be achieved by working together to get active!

Beat the Street Friends are therefore an invaluable resource and they can promote activity by various means; from promoting activity in their everyday conversations or on social media, sharing their stories, becoming ambassadors for This Girl Can, blogging about activity, or leading walks or runs.

This Girl Can!

Sport England report that 2 million fewer women play sport than men. Beat the Street helped to promote Colchester’s This Girl Can festival organised by Active Essex, which aimed to encourage more women to try new activities. 129 ladies attended and the positivity was palpable!

Click here to see the ITV news report.

The time is ripe in Colchester to build on all of this positive momentum and help everybody to get happy, healthy and active!
If you would like to be a part of it, do keep in contact with us on our social media channels by liking us on Facebook or Twitter @BTSColchester, or click here to sign up for the newsletter.