Representatives from Reading Borough Council, the local NHS, the community and local schools gathered on the new pedestrian bridge today to celebrate the return of this year’s Beat the Street challenge and start the countdown to the much- anticipated competition in April.
This year’s competition supports Reading’s Year of Culture once again aims to get the community more active by encouraging people to ditch the car and instead, walk, run, cycle or scoot!
It is hoped this year more teams from work places and community groups will sign up for the challenge and exceed the distance of 306,640 miles travelled by 24,000 participants in 2015.
The competition is open to anyone of any age or ability and this year participants are encouraged to collectively walk as far as possible.
The competition takes place from Friday, 15th April to Friday, 27th May across Reading plus the villages of Mortimer, Pangbourne and Theale. It has been funded by Reading Borough Council and the two Reading Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS North and West Reading CCG and NHS South Reading CCG.
To play, residents simply need to pick up a Beat the Street card and map and these will be available from 1st April from GP practices, libraries, and leisure centres as well as other distribution points listed at www.reading.beatthestreet.me
To score points, these cards must be tapped against at least two Beat Boxes around the area within an hour. There will be about 200 Beat Boxes across Reading.
There will be a prize of Decathlon vouchers worth £1000, £500 and £250 for the three teams that travel the furthest and also for the three teams that clock up the highest average points per person. There are other great prizes available including the chance to win weekly ‘lucky tap’ prizes just for taking part. People of all ages can take part and players can win prizes for themselves and their community team.
Graeme Hoskin, Reading’s Lead Member for Health said: “I’m looking forward to this year’s Beat the Street launching on 15th April. I hope to see even more people of all ages taking part for their own wellbeing – we are particularly keen to encourage workplace and community group teams to sign up to the challenge. Beat the Street is both competitive and fun - all you need is a comfortable pair of shoes to take part!
“As a council we’re committed to supporting residents get more active. The council faces very tough times at the moment but helping residents stay healthy and fit means not only a better life for them but also helps to reduce the demand for other services.”
Dr Rupert Woolley, lead GP for the project on behalf of the Reading Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) said: “It’s great to see Beat the Street return again this year. The programme has gone from strength to strength and this year we’re hoping to match last year’s target of 300,000 miles – a milestone which really caught people’s imagination.
“In recent years it’s been really pleasing to see so many people take part in activities – be it walking or cycling or competing as part of a team to rack up miles. We know that taking exercise a part of a normal day has clear health advantages and this initiative makes exercise as fun as possible.
“Walking just half an hour a day, five-days-a-week has major health benefits and can reduce the risk of developing certain illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, cancers, dementia, depression and anxiety. Taking exercise also helps improve the health of those who already have these illnesses.
“I would encourage as many of our local people take part in Beat the Street and make this year’s programme every bit as successful as last year!”
Anyone who lives or works in the Reading area is invited to take part and to start thinking about entering a team. For more information about Beat the Street, visit www.reading.beatthestreet.me
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Notes to editor:
- For all editorial enquiries contact Margaret McDonnell on 07930 274667 or email .
- A video showing Dr Woolley explaining the benefits of regular exercise is available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-ZcDbYF5RM&list=PLiv_04Je-DSoeem3t_QVHEDdK1OrOlNG_
- Regular physical activity is known to improve 23 long-term conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancers, dementia, depression and anxiety. Taking exercise also helps improve the health of those who already have these conditions.
- Following the competition in Reading 2015, a survey showed that eight out of ten people thought that Beat the Street helped them be more active (84%), walk more than usual (78%) and feel healthier (78%).
- Beat the Street is jointly funded by the NHS North and West Reading and NHS South Reading Clinical Commissioning Groups, and Reading Borough Council's Public Health Team. It uses technology developed by Reading-based health IT company, Intelligent Health.