Welcome to a special blog post complementing the current series (Series 35) of my walking podcast, Walk the Pod! In this series, I’ve been discovering an amazing initiative called Beat the Street in my local area of Merton. This program promotes walking, cycling, and running, transforming communities and making a significant impact on people’s lives and the environment. Let’s delve into how Beat the Street works.
The Birth of Beat the Street
Beat the Street is an innovative, real-life game that encourages communities to get moving by turning neighbourhoods into a giant playing board. The initiative was created by Dr. William Bird MBE, a doctor and entrepreneur, who is passionate about the preventative benefits of physical activity. Dr. Bird created a fun, engaging, and inclusive way for people of all ages and abilities to become more active, with the aim of ultimately improving their health and well-being.
How Beat the Street Works
The concept of Beat the Street is simple yet effective. Participants sign up and receive a card or fob, which they use to tap onto “Beat Boxes” installed on lampposts throughout the local area. Points are earned for every tap, and the more points collected, the more rewards and prizes participants can win. In addition to individual rewards, community groups, schools, and workplaces can also compete against each other, fostering a sense of camaraderie and friendly competition. In Merton, the local schools are giving packs of cards (one for the child, one for their grown up) to all children under the age of 11. Players over the age of 11 can collect a card from a distribution point (libraries and health centres) and connect it to their player profile. Is there a Beat the Street app? Of course there is!
The Impact of Beat the Street
Since its inception, Beat the Street has been successfully implemented in numerous locations around the world, resulting in increased physical activity levels, reduced congestion and pollution, and stronger community bonds. The initiative has motivated people to ditch their cars and opt for more sustainable forms of transportation, ultimately leading to a greener environment. I’m delighted that Beat the Street has come to my local area, and lovely to see that Dr. Bird gave a talk at Merton Council to launch the game here.
Walk the Pod and Beat the Street: A Shared Vision
My walking podcast, Walk the Pod, shares many common goals with Beat the Street. Both initiatives focus on promoting the benefits of walking and the importance of connecting with nature, our surroundings, and each other. As the host of Walk the Pod, I have witnessed first hand, and experienced for myself, how walking can help individuals de-stress, improve their mental health, and build a sense of community. My friends at trundl love Beat the Street too, and you can Beat the Street whilst racking up kms for charity via trundl at the same time – and with Sustrans—a government department dedicated to walking and cycling improvements in London—the walking ecosystem is expanding all the time.
An inspiring initiative
Discovering Beat the Street in my local area of Merton this week has been a delightful experience. Walk the Pod can draw inspiration from this initiative and continue to encourage more people to take up walking as a way to enhance their lives.
Beat the Street is a remarkable project that has the power to transform communities through increased physical activity and social connections. As I continue to explore Merton and share my walking experiences through Walk the Pod, I’m excited to see the positive impact of initiatives like Beat the Street on local communities. So, grab your trainers, tap into your local Beat Box, and join me on this exciting journey as we walk our way to a healthier, happier, and more connected world.
Stay in touch for future blog posts and podcast episodes, where we’ll uncover more fascinating insights about the transformative power of walking. And if you haven’t listened to Walk the Pod before, or are interested in joining the Walk the Pod lunch time walk club, a global walking community, do get involved. Until then, happy walking!