People of all ages are invited to ditch the car and get active as Beat the Street Eastbourne gets underway in the town on Wednesday 16 September.
Beat the Street is a free, interactive game that encourages people of all ages to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.
The seven-week physical activity game will launch the Eastbourne Walking Festival (Friday, 18 September to Sunday 27 September).
The game was previously played across the whole of East Sussex where players travelled more than 230,000 miles for each competition, but this is the first time that Eastbourne has exclusively enjoyed the game.
Once again, beeping and flashing sensors called Beat Boxes will be placed on lampposts around the area for the duration of the game which will take place until Wednesday, 4 November.
Primary school pupils will be provided with fobs while parents and teachers will receive a card from the school so they can accompany children.
The wider community can pick up a contactless card from one of 10 distribution points which will be decided closer to the game’s launch.
Players then walk, roll, scoot, cycle or run between the 72 Beat Boxes which are spaced half a mile apart, scoring points with their fobs or cards as they go. The further players travel, the more points they score for their community or school team. Each week is themed with different activities to help participants get the most out of their Beat the Street experience.
As well as the chance to win prizes for your school or community team, the game has been adapted to reward players for their personal achievements. The Eastbourne game is also the first to enjoy the new sustainable and non-plastic Beat the Street cards.
With lockdown being eased after the outbreak of Covid-19, communities are understandably cautious about getting out and about for physical activity and exercise. The game has been approved by Public Health England and adjusted to ensure that it is completely safe to play and so it complies with social distancing restrictions.
The changes to the game mean that you do not need to touch a Beat Box, players can simply hover their card or fob near the sensor and it will register the swipe. Further measures such as frequent sanitisation of Beat Boxes and temporary pavement markings to help will also be put in place.
Beat the Street is being delivered by Intelligent Health and funded by Sport England, Eastbourne Borough Council, East Sussex County Council Public Health, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce and South Downs National Park.
Antonia Lucas from Eastbourne Walking Festival said:
“We are delighted Beat the Street is opening this year’s Walking Festival. Hugely popular, it playfully instils the timely message that the simple act of walking is beneficial to our mental and physical health and wellbeing. This year’s festival and Beat the Street provides a wonderful excuse for locals and visitors to explore areas of Eastbourne they don’t usually frequent – to discover its varied green environments be it our coastline, downs, marshes, local parks, gardens and allotments.”
Miriam Wilkinson, Head of Development at 3VA, added:
“We really want to engage the whole town – kids, families, schools, as well as adults and older residents, plus local groups, organisations and charities so everyone can enjoy walking, exploring local area and playing the game. The return of Beat the Street couldn’t be more timely – the act of walking has been widely endorsed as the most appropriate form of exercise by the government, public health and people and celebrities of influence.”
David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council added:
“We are incredibly excited to be bringing Beat the Street to Eastbourne. We think that the game is a really positive way to encourage people to get active in a safe, socially-distanced way, plus it helps us to achieve our sustainability and carbon neutral goals. It’s open to everyone of all ages, so please keep an eye out for more information including where you can pick up a free card. The first week of Beat the Street coincides with the Eastbourne Walking Festival so please keep an eye out for announcements on the walks and events we’ll be running.”
Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health at East Sussex County Council, said:
“It’s great that Eastbourne Walking Festival have been able to bring Beat the Street back to Eastbourne and I can’t wait to see how far everyone is able to walk, run, cycle and scoot as part of their daily exercise during the Beat the Street challenge. We know that some people will feel a little uneasy about getting back outside again while we are still living with Coronavirus. However, the-pandemic has shown us that now, more than ever, it is vitally important to ensure that we adopt healthy lifestyle habits around incorporating physical activity into our days and trying to travel in more active ways by walking or cycling.”
Beat the Street was devised by GP Dr William Bird MBE in 2010 to get communities active and to make physical activity accessible to everyone. This year’s Beat the Street games are more important than ever as it’s vital that communities are fit, active and healthy to face the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19.
More information will be available at www.beatthestreet.me/eastbourne and on social media @BTSEastbourne
The Eastbourne Walking Festival takes place from Friday, 18th September to Sunday, 27th September and more information can be found here: www.visiteastbourne.com/walking-festival.