Barnsley's Beat the Street campaign is off on the right foot this week as thousands of people have signed up to take part in the six-week physical activity game.
Beat the Street challenges the whole community, including schools, workplaces and community groups, to see how far they can walk, run, scoot, wheel or cycle in return for points and prizes.
A socially distanced launch event was held on Thursday 13 May at Locke Park and attended by organisers and pupils from Shawlands Primary School.
Beat the Street aims to encourage people to walk, run and cycle more instead of taking the car. It helps people explore their local community and discover routes and areas they may not know. It's free to take part in Beat the Street and is open to anyone in the community, of any age, who would like to get more active or would like to get to know the town better.
There are 264 Beat Boxes placed on lampposts around Barnsley for the duration of the game. Simply hover your fob (for children, distributed via their primary school) or card (for adults) near the Beat Box to score points for your team. You must hover your card over one Beat Box to start your journey and then tap another within an hour to score 10 points. The further you travel, the more points you'll score for your team. The teams that travel the furthest can win hundreds of pounds worth of vouchers for sports or fitness equipment or books.
The game took the town by storm in the summer of 2019 where more than 25,000 residents of all ages walked, ran, cycled, scooted and wheeled 144,810 miles during the six-week game to win points and prizes.
Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: "We all know walking is beneficial for mental and physical health. Using our feet to take ourselves outdoors provides the perfect reason to give one's brain a rest from the phone or computer and to experience the real environment that surrounds us."
Dr William Bird, a GP and founder of the Beat the Street game, said: "We are thrilled to be launching Beat the Street here. Beat the Street aims to engage the whole community. While it's a fun game with prizes to be won, the real winners are those who take the time to walk, cycle or run every day. Taking part will really do great things for your physical and mental health and can even slow down your ageing process if you become more active.
"The six-game is just the start. By engaging with communities through a fun game, Beat the Street aims to leave a legacy of a healthier community, reduced congestion and air pollution.
"We hope that it will pave the way for future walking activities and will also improve community cohesion and help you engage with your fantastic natural surroundings.
"We hope that Barnsley will enjoy playing Beat the Street once again and hope that players can go even further this time."
Each week of the competition has a different theme, so keep an eye on the weekly newsletters and social media for news on what's happening and how to score bonus points. This week the game is themed ‘Go Play’ for players to get to grips with the rules. Next week's theme will be 'Go Explore', encouraging players to get to know parts of Barnsley they may not be familiar with.
More information is available on the Beat the Street website at www.beatthestreet.me/barnsley or on social media channels @BTSBarnsley and @BarnsleyMoving.
Beat the Street is funded by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Sport England and the National Lottery, and is being delivered by Intelligent Health.