School Gates Running Club

School Gate running has been developed by Active Devon to get more busy parents active at times and in locations that fit with daily life. In this video, the parents at Sticklepath Community School explain why it has been so successful at their school.

Beat the Street

Helen King and adopted son Max never realised their lives would change at the beginning of September 2018 when a community initiative launched in their home town of Torbay.

Eight-year-old Max was born with foetal alcohol syndrome, making it difficult for him to take part in physical activity and channel his energy in a positive way. The condition presents incredibly challenging behaviours, meaning Max often misbehaves due to his active nature.

Helen, 40, said: “It’s often difficult as he finds it hard to socialise out of the house and we spend a lot of time struggling with his additional attachment disorder. Even the school run presents its daily problems.”

Just one week after Helen’s son learned to ride a bike, Beat the Street was launched in Torbay, a free, fun challenge where people are rewarded with points and prizes for exploring their area on foot or by bicycle.
Helen said “When Beat the Street started, my son was hooked, and we started going out every evening to play the game.

“I wasn’t sure about him playing at first, as he often finds it difficult to socialise but then I saw the effect it was having on him.

“He loves to collect lanyards and is fascinated by security keys, so to have a card of his own that beeped, really fed into everything that he loves to do and helped his sensory disorder.

“Everything just fell into place – Max was able to take part in an activity that he loved doing and even made friends in the process.

“We were doing around two miles a night and I even picked up my bike after 20 years!”

Schools and community groups in Torbay competed against each other to see who could travel the furthest, climb the leader boards and win hundreds of pounds worth of prizes for their school.

Speaking of the impact it had on their area, Helen said, “I really saw the difference in some of the local children. There are a few children in the area who struggle at school and are always getting into trouble. Most evenings they were joining us on their bikes which really helped my son to communicate and make friends.”

“At one point I had six children from different schools accompanying me. It was just amazing to see.”
The game did not just help Helen’s son; it presented many positives for Helen and her own self-care.
“It can be really challenging looking after Max at times but seeing the positive effect the game had really improved my mood.

“Getting out in the gorgeous weather and exercising did wonders for my wellbeing.”

The game ended in Torbay on October 31sr with Max’s school crowned the reigning champions after eight weeks of live playing.

“School has been a huge part of his life and winning the game left him with a positive legacy of mainstream school.

“Max is currently in the process of changing schools to one that better suits his needs, so with all the additional pressures it was really great for him to contribute to the leader board and feel a sense of pride.

“I can’t thank Beat the Street enough, it’s had such a positive impact on all of us.”