Beat the Street: How a community walked, ran and cycled over 88,000 miles in six weeks

Beat the Street

Is healthcare high on your Council’s agenda? We have found a great example of a district council who engaged with their residents to get involved and promote a happier, healthier community.

Blaby District Council in Leicestershire launched a fun activity to promote a healthy lifestyle called ‘Beat the Street’ to see how far the community can collaboratively walk, cycle or run in just 6 weeks.

The initiative ran from 27th February to 10th April and in teams, players could earn points for each walk, run or bike ride.  The teams are then placed on a leaderboard to battle against other schools or workplaces in the area. Prizes up for grabs include £300, £200 and £100 vouchers to go towards books, craft supplies and sports equipment.

Sensors (or “Beat Boxes”) were placed on lamp posts around Blaby District. Players walk, run or cycle between the Beat Boxes tapping a card or fob on the Beat Box to earn points as they explore their town. At BHIB Councils Insurance, we’ve been getting involved by tapping the nearby Beat Boxes to-and-from work and on our lunch breaks!

Nearing the end of the initiative, the active members of the Blaby community have managed to rack up over 88,000 miles – the same as walking 3 and a half times around the world! We spoke to Ben Austin who co-ordinated Beat the Street for Blaby District to find out more…
What are your roles at Blaby District Council and what is your involvement in ‘Beat the Street’?
I’m Ben Austin, my role is the Engagement Co-ordinator. I’ve been going out to schools and delivering assemblies about Beat the Street and going to workplaces to try and get them on board. I am the local contact for Beat the Street.
Is this the first time that Blaby District Council have done Beat the Street and is it just unique to Blaby?
Beat the Street is delivered by Intelligent Health who run the initiative across the South West and the East Midlands. After the success of the Blaby District Beat the Street, Leicester City have set up their own one which runs through the centre and north of the city.
Do you think that Beat the Street has been a successful initiative?
Yes, we have had a fantastic response from the schools! We’ve got 26 primary schools across the District and 25 of them have actively engaged with the project. Three secondary schools in the area have also taken part. There has been massive engagement from all age groups – which is fantastic to see!
Do you feel that you’ve changed your commute or routine to involve yourself in Beat the Street?
I travel from outside of the District into work, but the Health & Leisure team have been going on lunchtime walks because we’re entered as a Council into the workplace leaderboard. So we’ve all been trying to get out when we can to make sure we’re tapping away on the Beat Boxes!

Do you know the overall involvement the Beat the Street initiative?
We’re really proud to say that roughly 11,000 people are involved across the Blaby District and collectively we have walked, ran or cycled over 88,000 miles so far!
Do you have any other projects in the pipeline that aim to promote health and wellbeing in the area?
We are working with LRS (Leicestershire Rutland & Sport) to develop and promote some work-based initiatives and something called a ‘Workplace Health Needs Assessment’. This is a tested tool for organisations to identify key priority health areas including healthy eating, physical activity, smoking and alcohol awareness and sleep and stress management.

Leicestershire and Rutland Sport have designed and developed the Wellbeing@Work package which eligible organisations across Leicestershire can access to support the implementation of Workplace Health Needs Assessment to identify their areas of health and wellbeing concern and to create a simplified interpretation of data.
It sounds like a real success! Did you achieve what you set out to?
The main purpose of the initiative is to promote a healthy lifestyle. For example, we hope to see a change in children wanting to walk to school rather than get in a car.

We’re looking to see the impact of the project in the long term to see whether we can succeeded in driving change in this way.
Blaby District Council are also running a celebration event for all residents and businesses to mark the end of Beat the Street as well as awards the winners their prizes. The free event takes place on Tuesday 16 April from 11am-2pm at Oakfield Park, Blaby, LE8 4FE
Is your Council running any campaigns this year to promote health and wellbeing? We’d love to hear from you! Please contact Katie Fordfor more information.

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