THOUSANDS of Thurrock residents who walked over 70, 000 miles last summer have received two official pats on the back.
The Beat the Street walking game was Highly Commended at the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards 2015 in the Children Services category at a ceremony in London on March 11. Judges praised it as an example of innovation at a time of stretched resources.
And in February the project walked off with the Best Smarter Travel Marketing Campaign Award at the Smarter Travel Awards 2015 beating off stiff competition including Transport for London’s “Boris” bikes.
Thurrock Council’s Public Health team led the Beat the Street project working with partners such as Travel Thurrock, the council’s sustainable transport team, and Impulse Leisure.
Beat the Street was an initiative which challenged people to walk between over 100 “beat boxes” and register their journey with a tap of their beat box card.
Walkers met the original six-week 25,000 mile challenge within two weeks; the final total was 70,126 miles, almost three times the original goal.
One in ten children and adults in the borough, took part in the competition and many continued the walking habit even six months later. The main aim of the game was to get residents to become more active and healthy.
Cllr Barbara Rice, Thurrock’s health portfolio holder, said: “It’s fantastic that we’ve been recognised nationally for the success of Beat the Street, not once but twice. It acknowledges the efforts of thousands children and adults in Thurrock who put on their walking shoes last summer.”
The council’s Public Health are team is developing a more sustainable programme of walking and talking across Thurrock linking in with the Council for Voluntary Service to engage with many more groups and communities.
Thurrock 100 Walking Festival is a new exciting initiative bringing public health and arts and culture together in partnership with a local design company Kinetica.
In its first year the plan is to develop ten ten-mile walking programmes engaging community groups and ten schools to produce locally-designed flags which will be displayed as part of the Beach Festival planned for July in Grays.