An innovative game that has already helped more than one million people get active could be coming to Burnley borough.
Beat the Street is a free, interactive game that encourages people of all ages to leave the car at home and see how far they can walk, cycle, scoot or run during the six-week game. The game is open to anyone of any age and there are prizes for the teams and individuals who travel the furthest.
Burnley Council has earmarked £20,000 from its Covid recovery fund towards a proposed scheme in the borough, but whether it will happen depends on further financial support from other partners.
Burnley Leisure, Calico and local GPs support the scheme and council officers will now seek to firm up further partner pledges to get the project off the ground.
Councillor Lian Pate, Burnley Council’s executive member for health and wellbeing, said: “Beat the Street is a fun game that brings whole communities together, by encouraging families to get involved in the fun and games. “We've all been cooped up indoors so long I think the whole borough is ready for this. All ages can take part and anything that encourages us to get off the sofa and get out and about, cycling, walking or running, or just in the fresh air is a good thing.”
Mark Beach, managing director of Calico Homes, said: "This project will provide us with a fabulous opportunity to engage with our customers in the community through activity and healthier lifestyles.
“That's why we're proud to be working with Burnley Council and wider partners to jointly fund the Beat the Streets project, which we believe will be a great way to showcase the best of Burnley and bring people back together."
Paul Foster, locality lead for Together an Active Future and head of development at Burnley Leisure, said "Beat the Street is a proven initiative that encourages the whole town to come together to move more and be more active.
“The Covid pandemic has hit individuals and communities hard, and many people have understandably become less active over the last 12 months, having a negative impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.
“What an amazing opportunity this is, through the Burnley Together partnership, to help people get out there and enjoy Burnley's parks and open spaces, streets and canal towpaths, by walking, cycling and generally discovering more about their local area."
Dr Yasara Naheed, clinical director Burnley East Primary Care Network, said:
“This project is an amazing opportunity to build our local community resilience by getting more active and to reduce the risks of developing long-term conditions. Burnley East Primary Care Network practices are proud to be able to support this initiative to improve the health of our local residents.”
If the initiative goes ahead it would work as follows. Beeping and flashing sensors called Beat Boxes would be placed at sites across the borough. The emphasis would be on local parks and places of interest, helping people to enjoy both well-known places and hidden gems.
Primary school pupils would be provided with fobs while parents and teachers would receive a card from the school so they can accompany children.
The wider community would be able to pick up a contactless card from various distribution points.
Players would walk or cycle between the Beat Boxes, tapping the fobs or cards as they go. The further players travel, the more points they score.
The game was devised by GP Dr William Bird MBE in 2010 to get communities active and to make physical activity accessible to everyone. So far, the game has been played all over the UK including East London, Leicester and Liverpool as well as Norway, New York and beyond.
For more information about Beat the Street visit www.beatthestreet.me/