A smart-phone app piloted in Cherwell, helping people to become more physically active, is being rolled out across Oxfordshire.
Published: Thursday, 1st October 2020
Street Tag was first introduced by Cherwell District Council to residents in early August, attracting 246 players across Bicester, Banbury and Kidlington. In 12 weeks, participants covered a combined distance of 28,000 miles – the equivalent of walking from Cherwell to Namibia and back twice!
The app proved so successful, it is now being launched county-wide to coincide with National Walk to School Week (Monday 5 October), funded by Oxfordshire County Council as part of its active travel plans to increase exercise and improve air quality.
A new element of the game will be the introduction of an inter-schools league, encouraging families to play together as one team, collecting points on their walk or cycle to school.
The most active communities and schools will benefit from real rewards, with £50 on offer for Parent Teacher Associations of the top three leading schools in the district and rewards of sports equipment, Amazon vouchers and more for the highest scoring communities within each district.
Cllr George Reynolds, Cherwell’s lead member for leisure and sport said: “Being active has never been more important. Families in Cherwell have told us that they have struggled to keep fit during COVID but have enjoyed walking more as a family.
“By introducing Street Tag, we’re encouraging more people to move around the district on foot and by bike, enjoying their surroundings whilst staying active.
“It’s pleasing to see other districts across Oxfordshire following Cherwell’s lead by getting involved in Street Tag. Our residents have already covered more than 28,000 miles. I look forward to seeing if any other areas can catch us!”
When playing Street Tag, competitors record their distance walked, run or cycled by scanning virtual tags with their smartphone at various geographic locations, watching their total distance accumulate to climb up the local leaderboard versus other players.
Each game season lasts 12 weeks. In that time, competitors can vie with each other to hit the top of the leaderboard to become the winners.
After the first 12 weeks there will be two more seasons for players to get to the top of the Street Tag Oxfordshire School Games leaderboard over the year. Smaller schools can partner with other small schools so that they are on a more level footing with larger primary schools.
Cllr Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Environment said: “The launch of Street Tag is good news for Oxfordshire’s schools and communities as we encourage children and families to enjoy being active as part of daily life. The fact that the app will incentivise children to walk to and from schools is good for the whole community; it will mean cleaner air, less congestion and healthier, fitter residents.
“The Street Tag game is a real win for schools and communities in Oxfordshire.”