Belfast is about to be transformed into a giant walking and cycling game thanks to new initiative Beat The Street.

It’s a free, fun community health initiative that will inspire thousands of people across the city to become more physically active.

Beat the Street is a hugely successful community-health initiative which has helped thousands of people across the UK become more active by transforming entire towns and cities into a giant game. For the first time ever, Beat the Street is coming to Northern Ireland with communities in Belfast, Lisburn, Newtownabbey and Holywood with more than 40,000 people of all ages predicted to take part.

Launching on September 14, Beat the Street is a free seven-week challenge where local residents are rewarded with points and prizes depending on how far they travel. Over the next few weeks, residents should be able to spot beeping and flashing ‘Beat Boxes’ appearing on lampposts across the city.

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Look out for the Beat Boxes!

As players travel across the town they must tap the Beat Boxes with a special card they can pick up at a leisure centre, library or GP surgery near them. Each tap earns players points which adds to their total as well as those of their team and community.

Everyone in Belfast is invited to play Beat the Street to see how far the whole community can travel in six weeks. Additionally, Local schools, community groups and businesses are able to form teams for Beat the Street and compete against each other to win some amazing prizes of up to £1,000 worth of Decathlon vouchers if they walk, run or cycle the furthest.

Jenna Hall, Programme Director for the National Charity Partnership, said: “Diabetes UK, the BHF and Tesco are working together to help millions of people to improve their health through programmes such as Beat the Street.

“Beat the Street is a fun game that brings whole communities together, by encouraging families to get involved in active travel, with the hope that these changes will continue long after the game has finished. I urge residents in Northern Ireland to get involved this summer and take on the challenge. Even small changes, over time, can make a real difference to your health, and with the vital funds raised by Tesco colleagues we know that by working together we can help reduce people’s risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease.”

The National Charity Partnership has already funded successful Beat the Street games in towns and cities across the UK under its Let’s Do This programme, including East London, Nottingham, North Lanarkshire, Sandwell and Rhondda Cynon Taff. Through money raised by Tesco colleagues the National Charity Partnership will continue to work in 15 areas across all four UK nations in 2016 and 2017 to help millions of people to eat better and be more active. Beat the Street and school holidays food workshops will be accessible in six areas, designed to provide support for 200,000 individuals.

Having Type 2 diabetes can double a person’s risk of developing heart and circulatory disease, along with other complications, but both conditions are largely preventable.

For more information about Beat the Street, visit beatthestreet.me/NI. Alternatively visit @BTS_NI on Twitter and Beat the Street Northern Ireland on Facebook. To find out more about the National Charity Partnership’s work in the community visit www.lets-dothis.org.uk

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