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New commitment to create healthier, happier, more connected Sheffield

Children from the Oasis Academy Don Valley at the launch of the Beat the Street Sheffield game
Children from the Oasis Academy Don Valley at the launch of the Beat the Street Sheffield game

Sheffield’s Move More Month 2021 is being recognised this June with the launch of a new physical activity strategy and a free interactive city-wide game that more than 45,000 people are anticipated to play over a six-week period. 

The new Move More strategy sets out a clear vision and mission which unites the city’s residents with a shared purpose to create a healthier, happier and more connected Sheffield.

The renewed approach comes in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has seen health inequalities reinforced and exacerbated in Sheffield with the most disadvantaged areas being disproportionately affected.

The strategy outlines a Move More vision which is not the responsibility of single organisations, leaders or groups, but a ‘joint endeavour and everyone has a role to play’. It recognises that enabling people in Sheffield to live healthy, active lives is an important part of the city’s pandemic recovery, and that building physical activity into everyday life will encourage health resilience and help to create a more inclusive and prosperous economy for the future.

Dr Anna Lowe, programme manager for the National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine at Sheffield Hallam University, said:

“As Sheffield begins its recovery from Covid 19, we need to seize the opportunity to design activity back into everyday life. Being active improves mental and physical health, it brings communities together, creates healthy workforces and benefits the environment too. It is a powerful way to build resilience in Sheffield.  The new Move More strategy gives us co-produced principles to guide how we can work together to create a city that enables everyone to move more.  It highlights specific priority areas, where impact could be great, including embedding movement into educational and healthcare settings and reducing car travel and instead choosing walking or cycling. The long-term vision is a healthier, happier and more connected Sheffield - surely something to strive for!”

Lisa Firth, director for Culture, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Changing behaviour and achieving our goals cannot be achieved alone and this is where Move More can make a real difference – by using a whole system approach to enabling and embedding physical activity into the lives of all Sheffield residents. Through this multi-partner approach, I believe we will create a culture of physical activity that will contribute to Sheffield becoming a happier and healthier place to live. As Sheffield City Council’s Director for Culture, Parks and Leisure, and as a Sheffield resident, I am exceptionally proud to be a part of this partnership.”

Cllr Alison Teal Executive Member for Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Wellbeing, Parks and Leisure said:

“Move More is a very important initiative for Sheffield and I am delighted to support Sheffield’s Move More Month 2021 and the new physical activity strategy.  This partnership work will improve many people’s lives across the city, of all ages and backgrounds and the new strategy maximises the benefits of our fantastic leisure facilities and abundance of green spaces that we’re so proud of in Sheffield. We are creating a culture and way of life where health and happiness go hand in hand, and are accessible to all.”

Debbie Mathews, CEO of Manor and Castle Development Trust Ltd, said:

“We are happy to be a partner in the Move More strategy because it recognises the importance of communities in supporting each other to make changes that improve their lives, the lives of their families and friends and the wider community. It recognises people’s life experiences are not all equal and that we have to address inequalities in order to work with and support people to take control of their own lives and health.

“We know from experience of delivering health and wellbeing activity for 24 years that moving more and physical activity has a positive impact, not just on a person’s physical health, but on their mental and emotional wellbeing. We still have a long way to go in the communities we work in, to reduce the health inequalities and increase the healthy lives, this strategy is another step in the right direction on that journey.”

Move More Month will also be marked with a new interactive game, Beat the Street, which launches on Wednesday 16 June and challenges schools, workplaces and community groups to clock up as many active travel miles as possible.

More than 450 beeping and flashing sensors called Beat Boxes will be placed on lampposts around Sheffield for players to tap with contactless cards and key fobs and score points for their teams. Participants can walk, cycle, run, scoot, wheel or roll to the next one on the map within an hour to score 10 points; the further players go and the more Beat Boxes tapped, the more points they will score.

Beat the Street is free and open to all ages and abilities, children and adults alike.  Over the course of the six-week competition, the top scoring schools and workplaces will win vouchers for sports equipment and books, with ‘lucky tap’ prizes given out to individuals during the game.

Richard Caborn, former Government sports minister and project lead for Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, said:

“It’s fantastic to be welcoming such an imaginative initiative to Sheffield. Our city has many incredible outdoor spaces just waiting to be explored, and Beat the Street is a simple and fun way for people of all ages to get out and enjoy them.

“Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park and the surrounding area offers such a lot for people of all ages to explore. I can’t wait to see families, friends, workplaces, schools and the rest of the local community scanning their cards as they experience the many physical and mental benefits of getting active.”

Beat the Street was developed by Dr William Bird, a GP who wanted to encourage people to be active and get communities walking together. Since it was developed in 2010, more than a million people have played the game, both in the UK and internationally. It is anticipated that Sheffield will be the largest game to date with more than 45,000 people set to play.

Beat the Street Sheffield is being delivered in partnership with Move More, Sheffield City Council and Intelligent Health, with funding from the National Lottery and Sport England and local partners.