Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Beat The Street and get active in Chelmsford

Published: 17 January 2024 at 16:04

Chelmsford Cathedral

Free interactive game to begin in city and South Woodham Ferrers next month

A popular interactive game that turns whole communities into a giant activity competition is set to launch across Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers thanks to a partnership between Writtle University College and Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

Beat the Street was created by GP Dr William Bird MBE - a specialist in physical activity, to encourage people to explore their local areas and to make exercise fun.

The game has been played by more than 1.8m people in 168 locations in the UK, including previous games in Harwich and two in Jaywick.

Beat the Street encourages communities to move more and to make small lifestyle changes, such as walking or cycling to school or work every day. The competitive element of the game really helps people to get involved, go one step further and really work together to walk, cycle, run and scoot for points!

One participant said of the game when it took place in their city:

"Just want to say a huge thank you! I'm a teacher and the kids are absolutely obsessed with Beat the Street - I have never seen anything motivate them to get moving so much! They have so much school pride, and the team ethos around school is lovely. What a brilliant idea and such a lovely boost for the kids who have had such a challenging year. Thank you for everything."

As well as making a significant impact on increasing low levels of physical activity amongst adults and children, the game also helps reduce congestion, improves air quality, and helps families spend time in green spaces together - some participants report that it even helps with maths and map-reading.

The game is open to anyone of any age who would like to take part and takes place across Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers from Wednesday, 28 February to Wednesday, 10 April 2024. Children use a card and map which will be provided by participating primary schools, and adults can pick up a free card from one of the distribution points listed on the Beat the Street game website which will go live shortly at www.beatthestreet.me/Chelmsford   

Alternatively, players over the age of 13 can download the free Beat the Street app to play the game with their phone.

Players can join a school, community, workplace team and there are prizes for the teams that travel the furthest with vouchers for books and sports equipment on offer. With an individual leaderboard, lucky 'spot' prizes just for taking part, and the opportunity to help The Trussell Trust to win a cash donation, there's something for everyone. For schools and community teams, there is a total points leaderboard and an average leaderboard, so opportunities for teams of all sizes to win prizes.

Once the game is underway, players find their nearest "Beat Box" which will appear on lampposts around the borough. There will be 125 of these sensors that record each players' point tally. These sensors are contactless so that you don't need to touch them - simply hover your card over the Beat Box and it will beep and flash to record your points.  

Visit two Beat Boxes within an hour and collect 10 points for each Beat Box, then keep going!

Beat the Street is being delivered by Intelligent Health in partnership with Writtle University College and Anglia Ruskin University. It is funded by the National Lottery via Sport England, Essex County Council, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford City Council and Active Chelmsford.

Lee Smith, Professor of Public Health at Anglia Ruskin University, said:

"ARU is proud to be part of Beat The Street coming to Chelmsford. This initiative will encourage people to get active, have fun and be social in their communities, with the associated health benefits."

Dr Greg Deacon, Head of Health and Wellbeing at Writtle University College (WUC), said:

"We're delighted to be working in partnership with ARU to bring Beat the Street to Chelmsford and South Woodham Ferrers. This inclusive, captivating game will encourage local people to get active with their friends, family and colleagues. WUC takes a proactive approach to health creation. Beat the Street is one of the many initiatives we support to enhance health and wellbeing within our community."

More information will be available at beatthestreet.me/Chelmsford and on social media at @BTSChelmsford