SUNDERLAND is being invited to step up to a 10-month challenge, that aims to get people moving more.
This Friday, July 26 sees the launch of Step Up Sunderland, a city-wide push to get residents and people who work here to get up, get out and get moving.
Step Up Sunderland is being backed by businesses and organisations across the city, and will see the launch of a new app – available on Android and from the Apple Store – where people can add their steps to a city-wide counter, that charts progress towards a more active Sunderland.
Those who sign up will also be alerted to events and activities they can take part in to boost their steps, and will be rewarded for getting involved with a number of incentives to encourage people to get on board with the challenge.
Leaders across the city are backing the initiative.
Patrick Melia, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “Sunderland has some great places to enjoy – from our abundance of open spaces, riverside and award-winning parks and beaches. What better excuse to get out and make the most of them, than to take part in Step Up Sunderland?
“This is not only about health and wellbeing, but about helping people rediscover the fantastic places they have available to them, and the world-class events that they can engage with in Sunderland across the next 10 months.”
Phil King, from Sunderland’s Beacon of Light, where people at all levels of fitness can access facilities to get more active is also backing Step Up. He said: “There are so many opportunities for people here to get fit and active, and the Beacon of Light is just one place where people who might not have done much exercise before can start their fitness journey – everyone’s welcome, from people who’ve been relatively inactive right through to elite athletes.
“Step Up Sunderland is a great way for people to take small steps towards a healthier lifestyle, by being more aware of their activity levels. We’re fully behind this challenge and hope people use it as a driver to kick off a more active summer.”
Sharon Appleby, head of business operations at the BID, said: “We have some fantastic places for people to get up and explore in Sunderland.
“The city centre is packed with places to enjoy – from shops to the cinema, and parks to places to eat. It would be fantastic to see people getting out and about and enjoying what they have on their doorstep.”
And the city is expected to pledge its intention to get on board with the challenge with a social media ‘thunderclap’ that will see people use #stepupsunderland across social networks with the aim of achieving trending status at 6pm on Friday, July 26. The social media hashtag will shine a spotlight on the campaign to a local, national and potentially international audience, celebrating Sunderland’s active new future.
Sunderland City Council will also be placing new signage around the city – which will remain until the challenge ends at the Sunderland Run weekend (3k, 5k 10k and Half Marathon) in May 2020 – to help people see how far they are, in steps, from places across Sunderland.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Step Up Sunderland is a fantastic opportunity to encourage people to get out and explore more of the city, as well as to reward them for their efforts, and we hope this will be a step in the right direction to making Sunderland a healthier, happier city for years to come.
“I’ll be downloading the app, and look forward to seeing how many people who live and work in Sunderland come on board to step up their activity levels, something that is as good for the mind as it is for physical fitness.”
The Step Up Sunderland campaign aims to encourage healthy competition between people from right across the city, with the five localities of Sunderland North, Sunderland East, Sunderland West, Coalfields and Washington, battling it out to boost their step-count. Those who commute in the city every day can also compete, and will be able to use the leaderboard in the app to see which area of Sunderland is stepping up most.
The app can be downloaded from the Apple store and Android, and the website is www.stepupsunderland.com. People who engage in the first month with the challenge will receive their first reward in the first week in September. Everyone Active, as a Step Up Sunderland partner, has committed to providing a complimentary Activity Pass which offers free use of the gym, pool, fitness classes and off-peak courts at their local Everyone Active leisure centre for the day. To find the centre closest to you, visit: www.everyoneactive.com/centre
Martin Miles, area manager at Everyone Active, which operates eight leisure centres and facilities across Sunderland on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re proud to support Step Up Sunderland, and to encourage more people to get up and out – especially as we head into the summer, with longer days and better weather.
“We have some fantastic facilities in Sunderland for health and wellbeing, where people of all ages and abilities can kickstart a more active future. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone who receives their free Activity Pass so they can sample the activities available at Everyone Active’s centres across the city.”