Beat the Street helps get Colchester moving

The Beat the Street walking and cycling initiative which turned Colchester into a giant game last autumn has helped encourage residents to become more active, according to a new report.

Beat the Street was funded by a number of organisations including Livewell Colchester, Colchester Catalyst and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) with the aim of increasing levels of physical activity throughout the borough.

The game, which ran from 20th September until 8th November 2017, saw more than 13,000 residents run, walk and cycle almost 100,000 miles over seven weeks. In a new report Intelligent Health claim the changes in physical activity as a result of the game will lead to £1.4 million in savings over the next five years.

The results in the summary report which were calculated by comparing physical activity levels before and after the game via surveys, revealed:

  • The proportion of people reporting as inactive (doing 0-30 minutes of exercise in the past week) decreased from 12 per cent to 8 per cent
  • The proportion of adults walking or cycling for travel for 10 minutes or longer, on five or more days in the past week, increased from 65 per cent before Beat the Street to 68 per cent immediately after
  • The proportion of adults reporting that they did zero walking or cycling for travel in the past week decreased from 10 per cent to 6 per cent immediately after.

The report also highlights a case study of a six-year-old Colchester resident who was diagnosed with cerebral-palsy at 18 months old and finds walking any distance very tiring and often uses a wheelchair.

Beat the Street gave her the determination and dedication to walk more than she had before. In December, she competed in the Winter Wonder Wheels 1km dash using her walking aid and is now training for a superhero triathlon.

Cllr. Tim Young (Lab), Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted that the Beat the Street game was so well received in Colchester and that the End of Game report highlights the positive impact the game had on local residents’ lives and levels of activity.

“Although the game ended in November, it’s fantastic that its legacy continues and the team are continuing to encourage residents to stay active with further projects and initiatives”.

Intelligent Health will be further surveying players later this year to see if the changes made during Beat the Street have been sustained in the long-term.