Newham’s Million Miles Together
The Million Miles Together Club (“The Club”) is a free, virtual, community health and wellbeing Club, aimed at inspiring and developing healthier, more resilient communities across the UK.
Each Club will do this by delivering online community-based challenges that encourage and promote healthier lifestlye habits as well as signposting existing, fun activities to those who live, work and learn within its community. It will inspire them to become more active physically and socially with friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.
The year-on-year Local Authority cuts have seriously impacted health provision, social care and community cohesion. In addition, poor lifestyle choices and the growing effects on mental wellbeing from both home and work-based social isolation and loneliness have led to spiralling health costs.
In many communities across the UK as much as 70% of the population are less active than they should be for good health. Despite the recently reported increase in gym membership, driven by low cost providers, it is still the case that, for this majority, most forms of exercise and sport remain intimidating, inaccessible or of no interest. It is therefore clear that a new scalable, cost-effective inclusive provision is needed to motivate, support and manage a movement for habit changed aimed at that 70%. The Million Miles Together Club will provide that movement; it will be the glue that will positively impact the physical, social and mental health of the nation, community by community.
The Club, the first of its kind, will offer participating members a host of attractive benefits for themselves and their communities to become more active together. Each Club will be rooted in the heart of its community supported by an army of volunteers drawn from its membership. It will launch with its own Million Miles Together Challenge (“The Challenge”); an interactive game, through which the whole community unites to achieve the goal of accruing a million miles-worth of activity, in just 100 days. Aimed at being both entertaining and fun, challenges will also provide the chance to share additional information, advice and support to stimulate further social. health and lifestyle behaviour changes around areas such as sleep, diet, stress and volunteering.
One of the most exciting aspects of this initiative is that for the first time, anyone, of any age and any level of ability can log any everyday activity that burns a calorie or helps a neighbour. Participants log their activity onto an online platform, via our website or an app. The platform’s unique activity converter will then translate that activity into miles, automatically updating an individual’s, their team’s and their community’s mile-total. This platform, built by Gold Challenge for the community engagement for London’s 2012 Olympics and since then has been? used by over 175,000 participants over a range of their challenges. It will be further developed and managed to the needs and specifications of each Club’s community.
The Million Miles Together Club concept is the brainchild of former international athlete Eugene Gilkes, who has developed an assorted range of activity and health engagement programmes for a diversity of communities, companies, schools and national charities community over the past 20 years. Eugene’s concept has been further developed in partnership with the team at Gold Challenge and its founder and Chair Dan Thompson. He too is incredibly passionate about the physical and mental health benefits of increased physical activity and its power to transform communities. Dan is currently undertaking his own extraordinary personal challenge (Run the World) to raise money for cancer research; he is running 10km in every country in the world, a total of 206 countries by the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. He has just completed his 106th country.
Gold Challenge, launched in 2010 and ran two Olympic and Paralympic inspired challenges in the run up to London 2012. They partnered with the British Olympic Association, Team GB, Paralympics GB and Sport England as part of the official London 2012 mass-participation legacy programme. It’s highly successful challenges have attracted hundreds of schools, hundreds of thousands of participants and companies such as Sky, Ford GSK, BP, Atos, EDF, Cisco, John Lewis and Coca Cola. It has also provided the platforms that have supported charities; raising over £1.5 million. Charities Gold Challenge has supported includes Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, the NSPCC and Help for Heroes.