Intelligent Health welcome Sport England’s new five-year strategy

May 2016

Intelligent Health welcome the announcement today that Sport England will be spending £250 million to combat inactivity over the next five years.

Sport England have announced their new five-year strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’ which will put a greater emphasis on groups who are typically less active such as women, disabled people and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

“Sport England’s commitment has the potential to transform the health of the nation and this is a huge step forward.” said Dr William Bird, CEO of Intelligent Health, at the launch of a Sport England funded programme earlier today.

Dr William Bird was speaking alongside Jenny Price, Chief Executive of Sport England, at the launch of Fit 4 Life in Nottingham which supports people living with Type 2 Diabetes into leading active lifestyles.

“Getting the most inactive into activity has the greatest benefits to public health” explained Dr Bird. “A strategy must include all types of participation and making opportunities accessible and inclusive. It is vital that people are active for their health and we should ensure that barriers are removed to make this possible for everyone, no matter their level of ability.”

“We know that 5.3 million people in the UK are so unfit that walking at just 3mph would be a vigorous activity. This level of poor fitness would rule out event low level sports. Sport England’s new focus allows this to be addressed alongside Public Health England commitments to improving health. We know the health benefits of activity but there are many other benefits such as increase in social contact and productivity.”

“Intelligent Health have been working for the past five years to highlight the benefits of everyone getting active.” added Dr William Bird.

Intelligent Health’s mission is to build active communities. One way this is achieved is via the successful mass participation programme — Beat the Street. Over 300,000 people have played the walking and cycling game which turns whole towns into a playing field.

The programme makes being active fun and normalises healthy behaviour. As a result, at least 12% of participants are lifted into activity.

Beat the Street is currently in its third week in Nottingham with over 17,000 residents participating in the city-wide programme.

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Intelligent Health presents GBA Health Award

February 2016

Intelligent Health were sponsors of the Health Awards at the fourth annual Get Berkshire Active Inspiration & Participation Awards on Friday evening.

One of 42 County Sports Partnerships, Get Berkshire Active is still a relatively young organisation but it has big ideas and ambition. Over 300 people packed out the Windsor suite at the Hilton Hotel in Reading to celebrate the successes and contributions of stars in 2015.

Marketing Director Katherine Knight said: “County Sports Partnerships play a vital role in supporting people to get active throughout the country and we are delighted to present the Health Project of the Year Award to West Berkshire Run. To really make a difference to health and well-being work has to be done from elite sport right down to support the most inactive. This award celebrates the work being done to ensure everyone has access to activity.”
“We were fortunate enough to collect an award at the recent London Sports Awards and we look forward to another great evening.”

Brett Nicholls, Chief executive of Get Berkshire Active has said, “The awards are an opportunity to give recognition to the people across Berkshire who are hugely committed to making sport happen; the people who go the extra mile to give everybody in Berkshire the opportunity to take part in sport and physical activity.”
The leading prize, the Sports Personality of the Year award, went to Shelayna Oskan-Clarke, — a member of Windsor, Slough, Eton & Hounslow Athletics Club.

The British middle distance runner, competes in the 800m at a world class level, and enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2015, which included a fifth place finish at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing.
Oskan-Clarke said: “I really did not expect this award. Everyone said, oh you might win, but it is amazing because it shows how much support I have from the community.

“It was a big year and obviously I am happy with my achievements. It is so nice to feel that I am supported and have everyone behind me.”

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Winner GBA Awards Shelayna-Oskan-Clarke

Intelligent Health Newsletter February 2016

February 2016

Intelligent Health creates campaigns that build active communities and encourage people of all ages and abilities to make physical activity a long-term habit.

Our news


Intelligent Health was founded by Dr William Bird MBE, a practising GP who realised that more needed to be done to encourage people to move more as activity is fundamental to health. As Dr William Bird explains: “Not moving leads to damage from free radicals released by mitochondria in human cells. This causes premature aging and diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia and depression. There is no medication or diet that will prevent this damage. There is a simple cure though — being more active! If we want to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities we need to be ambitious, provide a clear narrative to get people active and support them on their journey.

Physical activity has more health benefits than any other single intervention. Globally, around 23% of adults aged 18 and over were not active enough in 2010 (men 20% and women 27%). In high-income countries, 26% of men and 35% of women were insufficiently physically active.”

William will be presenting at the Local Government Association Annual Public Health conference and exhibition this week at Victoria Park Plaza on the need for health professionals to be physical activity specialists and public health departments to work closely together to help make walking a social norm. William will also be presenting to the QUEST conference, Loughborough and the National Primary School PE Conference in Croydon later in the month.


Beat the Street is a 12 month programme that encourages whole communities to get moving. Physical activity has been called “one of the best buys in public health” and Beat the Street leads to long term behaviour change by creating a social norm around walking and cycling.

2015 was an extremely busy year for Intelligent Health as Beat the Street took place in 21 areas across the UK and beyond. In total, more than 175,000 people walked a collective total of 1.25 million miles! The Beat the Street programme kicked off on Valentine’s day in Terni, Italy before heading to Aldershot; Calne and Devizes in Wiltshire, Reading and Lowestoft. The September programmes saw Beat the Street enjoy huge success in the towns of Annan and Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway where 39% and 36% of the populations took part respectively and Hounslow. Twenty-six and a half thousand residents also walked, cycled and ran round their communities in Athens, Greece and Gdansk in Poland.

In autumn, Beat the Street took place in East London within the four boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham and Waltham Forest. This was delivered on behalf of the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Tesco.

East London was the first of six areas where the National Charity Partnership is funding the programme as part of their commitment to helping support 40,000 families in areas most at need across the UK to get active and reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart and circulatory disease. Supporting these areas is part of the Partnership’s ‘Let’s Do This’ campaign which aims to inspire millions of people to take small and achievable steps to a healthier life.

For 2016, we’re about to embark on our first Midlands projects. We are running Beat the Street Wolverhampton, Birmingham and one for the National Charity Partnership in Sandwell which will all take place from 24th February to 13th April. A further project will take place at the same time in Isleworth (Hounslow) plus one in Terni, Italy.
In order to ensure the smooth-running of these schemes, the Intelligent Health team has grown!

We’d like to introduce four new engagement managers in the Midlands; Tahir Ahmed and Marya Afsar who have been appointed as engagement managers in Sandwell, plus Clare Williams and Asad Agha as engagement managers in Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

Meanwhile, Stuart Tryhorn and Alex Grimshaw who provided engagement support in East London have now been taken on permanently and will be responsible for the mapping of Beat Boxes for new projects — an essential task!

Additionally, Natalie Ganpatsingh has joined Intelligent Health to share her wealth of knowledge and experience on nature. She will be helping key partners to engage with urban communities and exploring how they can spend more time in green spaces.


We have devised a standard evaluation protocol for Beat the Street which has been extensively tested and validated. Working with the independent The Evidence Centre, participation levels are measured by ward, activity levels of participants and provide basic demographic information about the people taking part.

The evaluation is conducted in two stages; at the end of the live Beat the Street game and six months afterwards at the end of the legacy phase. This will also explore people’s attitudes and perceptions of the Beat the Street and the impact they feel it has had on their health, their connection to their community and their local area.
In 2015, participation ranged from 14% to 39% of a local population and between 93% and 100% of participants who gave feedback across the projects said they would recommend Beat the Street to a friend.

In other news, we have been nominated for a number of awards:
We were shortlisted for The London Sport Awards in their Make it Easier and Resources categories for the Beat the Street East London scheme. Members of the Intelligent Health team attended with representatives from the National Charity Partnership at a presentation held at Lord’s Cricket Club last week. We went onto win the Resources category and it was an inspirational evening recognising the outstanding achievements made by those helping to make London the most physically active city in the world by 2020.

We have also been shortlisted for UK Active’s Flame Awards which celebrate innovation and excellence across the leisure sector. We’re through to the next round in April, so please keep your fingers firmly crossed!

In other news, you may have seen this piece in the Independent about methods that can help you stick to your health goals in the post-Christmas/early New Year period. They kindly included a tip from Dr William Bird MBE, founder and CEO of Intelligent Health. You can read it (and benefit from it!) here.

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Beat the Street moves people in a journey round the world

December 2015

A mass participation walking and cycling competition has been taking the UK — and beyond — by storm with 175,198 people having walked 1.5 million miles in 21 areas this year.

Beat the Street is a simple competition that turns a town or area into a real life game. Players walk, run or cycle around the area recording their journeys with RFID technology. Players collectively travel towards a fun target and view their performance via a website. Teams and individuals all compete together and the community aspect of the programme has proved a huge incentive.

The ultimate target, of course, is to encourage more people to achieve the government’s recommended physical activity target of 150 minutes a week and support people to become more active.

Areas that have taken part this year range from East London, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire and Hampshire, to Scotland, Poland, Italy and Greece!

Organisers have received a wealth of feedback from participants and some key statistics from 2015 are:

On average 14% of the population have played with up to 39% in some towns.

Nine out of ten said Beat the Street helped them to be more active (87%)

8 out of 10 people sampled said that Beat the Street had helped them to walk more and a third said it encouraged them to cycle more.

Half said they used the car less (48%)

Projects last year led to an 18% increase in people meeting the government guidelines for physical activity on 5 or more days per week.

94% said they would recommend Beat the Street to their friends and family.

One third said Beat the Street encouraged them to cycle more than usual (36%)

Before Beat the Street, people reported walking for 15 minutes or more an average of 4 days per week. After Beat the Street, the average was 5 days per week. This is a significant change.

Before Beat the Street, more than one quarter of people said they walked between 0-2 days per week (28%). After Beat the Street this had reduced to 18%.

Before Beat the Street, about half of people said they walked on five or more days per week (55%). After Beat the Street this had increased to six out of ten people (63%.)

Before Beat the Street, people reported cycling for 15 minutes or more an average of 1 day per week. After Beat the Street, the average was 1.5 days per week.

Before Beat the Street, people reported being active for 30 minutes or more an average of four days per week. After Beat the Street, the average remained at four days per week. In some areas the average increased to 5 days per week.

In addition to the health benefits, people reported that the competition was fun!

85% of people who provided feedback at the end of Beat the Street said they got something out of it or made changes as a result of taking part.

The main things people said they got out of Beat the Street were:

having fun (59%)

exploring the local area (58%)

getting fit (57%)

feeling more healthy (56%)

spending time with friends and family (56%)

feeling part of the community (47%)

Nine out of ten said that Beat the Street helped them be more active (87%)

Eight out of ten said Beat the Street helped them feel healthier (81%)

Seven out of ten said Beat the Street helped them go to different places (72%)

Seven out of ten said Beat the Street helped them feel more involved in the community (69%).

Intelligent Health founder and CEO Dr William Bird, added: “Beat the Street has created a real buzz in the towns and cities where we have been privileged to take the game. Many people and communities are now committed to making physical activity an integral part of their lives. The critical detail is that the community come together and own the programme. They support each other, chat at the Beat Boxes feel part of something. Movement is vital for our health and wellbeing both physically and mentally and our programmes address this.

“Modern life is full of stress which builds barriers to people moving, communicating and causes other poor health behaviours. The Beat the Street impact has been far-reaching with many people saying the competition was literally life-changing. We’ve had feedback from people who decided to sell their car for good, from people who have been able to reduce or completely stop medication for pre-diabetes, and families who have said that they’ve stopped watching so much television and are spending more time outside, really talking to each other, as a family.
“We have lots of exciting plans for Beat the Street and will be running the competition in a range of locations all over the UK and beyond in 2016.”

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Beat the Street in shortlist for two London Sports Awards

December 2015

Intelligent Health’s Beat the Street East London walking and cycling competition has been shortlisted for the London Sport Awards 2015 in two categories — the Make it Easier Award and the Resources award.


The competition was held in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest and Hackney in September and October this year. More than 22,000 people took part, walking nearly 104,000 miles in seven weeks.


The competition was funded by the National Charity Partnership, a collaboration between Diabetes UK, the British Heart Foundation and Tesco as part of its aim to support and transform the lives of 40,000 families in the UK.


Beat the Street centred on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and players walked, ran or cycled around the area. The area was turned into a real-life game and players’ journeys were recorded via cards which are tapped on sensors called Beat Boxes.


The Make it Easier Award recognises outstanding achievement in assisting Londoners find the right activity, stay in it, and achieve their potential while the Resources Award is for organisations that have made the most out of investment, either in funding or value in kind.


Intelligent Health founder and CEO Dr William Bird, said: “We are honoured to have been nominated for the London Sport Awards.


“Beat the Street East London created a real buzz in the four boroughs and as a result, many people and communities are now committed to making physical activity an integral part of their lives.


As the new sport strategy released today mentions it is vital that everyone is supported to get active and that’s what Beat the Street is all about.”


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Hounslow Complete Beat the Street 2015

December 2015

Presentations of trophies and prize funds for the winners of the Beat the Street Hounslow competition have been held this week.


Set the goal of ditching the car and walking, cycling and running on a collective journey around the earth for six weeks, Hounslow rose to the challenge and its 11,000 participants walked a grand total of 39,286 miles.

The team that travelled the furthest and topped the overall leaderboard was St Lawrence’s RC Primary in Feltham whose 706 team members walked 5,731 miles. They were presented with a trophy and £500 to spend on sporting equipment or experiences for pupils.

Additionally, the school also won an additional £500 as they won the average points leaderboard, just one point ahead of Cardinal Road Infant and Nursery School whose 249 players walked 2010 miles. Cardinal Road won a trophy and a cheque for £250 for coming second on the average points leaderboard.


St Lawrence’s head teacher Rory McCormack, said: “We loved playing Beat the Street and it was wonderful to see everyone contributing and trying their best. It was such a brilliant scheme which was simple but effective. However, while it was a fun competition, the point of it was to get us into the habit of walking, so I’d urge you all to keep walking as much as you can.”

In second place on the overall leaderboard was Berkeley Primary School whose 539 team members walked 3,525 miles. They won a trophy and a cheque for £250.

The Beat the Street campaign encouraged people to ditch the car and to walk where possible. It was funded by the EU Switch campaign and the London Borough of Hounslow.


Prizes were presented by the Mayor of the London Borough of Hounslow, Councillor Nisar Malik who said: “We’re delighted to see that the people of Hounslow have had such a great time playing Beat the Street. As well as the health benefits, we’ve heard stories about people who have discovered new parts of the borough and really got the community together. Congratulations in particular to St Lawrence’s Primary School but everyone who took part is a winner for taking positive steps to get active.”

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GP Referral Programme begins in South Somerset

December 2015

Inactive people in and around three South Somerset communities are taking part in new programme led by South Somerset District Council.

The ‘Click into Activity’ project is one of only sixteen nationally to receive investment from Sport England’s Get Healthy, Get Active fund which aims to get inactive people moving.

Intelligent Health are providing the integrated website, app, smartcard platform and training which supports inactive members of the public to become active via referral and support through their GP practices.


The programme is being delivered by South Somerset District Council and in partnership with Somerset Health and Wellbeing Board, University of the West of England in Bristol, Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP), and the CLICK GP Federation which covers the area of Chard, Ilminster and Crewkerne.

Charlie Coward, Healthy Lifestyles Officer at South Somerset District Council lead officer for the successful bid explains more about the project: “Click into Activity will give local GP surgeries the opportunity to offer healthy lifestyle support to inactive patients.

“The aim of this project is to address a lack of intensive healthy lifestyle interventions for people who are diagnosed as either diabetic, pre-diabetic or hypertensive. It will work by referring identified patients to exercise specialists who will then offer one-to-one support, signposting and a ‘buddy system’. These patients will be encouraged to participate in sports sessions which are specifically designed for inactive people with long term health conditions.”

Sport England Director of Community Sport, Mike Diaper, said: “Physical activity plays a powerful role in improving people’s health. The evidence is absolutely clear on this. But it also has a wider impact.

“We want to highlight the positive and valuable contribution that sport can make to people’s health and well-being but also the economy.

“These programmes will do exactly that. By putting prevention at the forefront of their work, they will help to reduce the risk of inactive people developing serious health problems and in doing so, save taxpayer’s money. That is the power of sport in action.”

Managing Director of Intelligent Health Ian Mitchell said; “It’s been great to work with the team in Somerset, identifying their requirements and providing the support to make a difference to local people.”

Emeline Dean, GP partner and Chair of CLICK federation said, “As a group of GPs we are all supportive of the proposal for physical activity advisors to be based within the practices to try to improve health outcomes for Diabetic, Prediabetic and Hypertensive patients. This project has the potential for far reaching consequences throughout the whole population.”

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