Monday, 20 October 2014

BeatBoxing in Wokingham - Getting more people active

Wokingham is regularly voted as one of the best/healthiest/happiest places to live, but over the last month, we've been a lot more active. This is thanks to MyJourney, a great initiative that has its roots back in pilot schemes that ran in South London a few years ago. The inspirational and brilliant Dr William Bird and team at Intelligent Health are behind the project.

So the kids came back from school last month with "MyJourney" cards and keyrings, and a map of about 40 "BeatBoxes" around the neighbourhood. The BeatBoxes are strategically located on lamp-posts near schools, footpaths and pavements. The main idea is to get more people walking more, especially to school. By tapping a BeatBox with your card, you earn points – 10 for each different BeatBox. Most people are registered in a school team; the school that gets the highest points score wins £1,000, with another £1,000 going to the school with the highest average score when the competition closes on 31 October 2014.
A Beat Box, earlier today

There are so many benefits to the project, aside from the main goal of getting more people active in a community:

  • Kids encouraging their parents to walk/cycle to school or to go "BeatBoxing" at the weekend
  • Map reading skills – "get the map, where’s the next nearest BeatBox, how do we get there?"
  • General awareness and looking out for stuff while out and about

And it's added a little extra to my personal running motivation – I get asked if I went for a run today every tea-time. And when I have, how many BeatBoxes did I get. (It had better be more than last time!)
Some locals are a little bemused, but ask what we're doing when we’re tapping, and it's generated a good few debates and competition in the pub. We could even arrange a BeatBox "race" and see how long it takes to tap each and every BeatBox in the area (I reckon on 1.5-2 hours, based on efforts so far).

According to Intelligent Health, over 3,000 people have taken part in Wokingham, and it's the quickest any town has reached the target (25,000 miles, or Round the World). We're nearly at 50,000 miles now, and guess who's school is winning?!

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