We’re off to the Gold Coast – well some of us!
As a nation we are more inactive and less healthy than ever and walking is recognised as not only a great way to get people active but it also helps people tackle mental health issues – 1 in 4 of us are expected to suffer with mental health in the next 12-months.
Dovetailing this with our partnership with Commonwealth Games England, and with support from Olympic Gold medal winner, Alex Danson as firm ambassador and performance director for Team England at the 2014 Games, Greg Whyte as Programme director, we developed a firm wide health and wellness programme – Walk to the Gold Coast
Designed to empower our people to be more healthy and active in the workplace, Walk to the Gold Coast saw our people provided with Fitbits. People were then challenged to complete in monthly stepping challenges over an 18-month period. The challenges progressively got harder, increasing average steps each time - with an added incentive for our people of a prize of winning a trip to the Gold Coast to see the Commonwealth Games.
Eyes on the prize
The competition consisted of two prizes: the winner of the inspirational story and the Golden Ticket winner. After our people walked over 708 million steps with an average daily step count of 10,295 for 2017, there could only be two winners.
The inspirational story winner was selected by Alex Danson, England ladies hockey captain and firm ambassador, Paul Blanchard, CEO of Commonwealth Games England and Professor Greg Whyte, former Olympian and firm ambassador. And the winner was…
Danielle has truly been an inspiration to all our people. She embraced the challenge and inspired others around her. At one point during the challenge, she managed to average 33k steps a day! Having thrown herself in headfirst she decided to walk her parents’ seven dogs every morning and evening. She changed her habits in the office by taking the long walk around to visit parts of the office. Danielle made sure she went out for a walk at lunchtime – and took colleagues with her to help them to get moving too. As if that wasn’t enough she now attends spin classes 3-4 times a week, attends Body Attack classes 2 times a week, goes swimming and walks a longer route to work both to and from the Metro stop/office.
It has really been the little lifestyle changes that have made a massive difference to Danielle. She has really noticed a difference with all the walking not only to her physical self but also in terms of her energy levels but also taking regular breaks is helping her concentrate more at work.
We asked Danielle what it mean to win, she said: “I’m thrilled to be getting this once in a lifetime trip to the Commonwealth Games 2018 and to soak up some much needed sun! I still cannot believe I was the winner for my story – the firm challenge really helped me keep motivated and encourage me to push myself that bit further and increase my activity levels. I am now two thirds of my way to my target weight loss, having lost 11.5 stone so far – the trip really is the icing on the cake.”
Golden Ticket winner
To win the Golden Ticket prize, our people had to rise to the ever-increasing step challenge, starting at 5,000 steps a day finishing with a phenomenal 11,000 steps a day. 1,352 golden tickets were awarded over nine challenges but Greg could only pick one winner out of the hat….
Sheila works in our Finance team, a team which turns out to be very competitive! And she credits her success to the competitive and dedicated team she works in (but sadly couldn’t invite them all to the Gold Coast with her). Embracing the challenge her team set up challenges within the firm challenges to keep everyone on their toes and keep each other motivated for 18-months. Using the Fitbit’s built in challenges to compete against each other, while achieving their targets for the team, Sheila was able to keep her average steps over the recommended 10k daily step mark grab 8 Golden Tickets to be in with a chance to win.
Sheila said, of her win: “I was over the moon when I won the tickets to the Gold Coast and am so grateful to win this incredible trip. I couldn’t have reached the steps I did without the pressures of such a competitive dedicated finance team setting up regular challenges. My daughter Davina is coming with me as she helped me with the weekend challenges so more than earned her place to come with me.”
‘Walk to the Gold Coast’ has been an unbelievable journey for everyone who took part, having a beneficial impact on the general health and wellbeing of our people. Congratulations to Danielle and Sheila who are thoroughly deserving of the prizes. In terms of what next, everyone still has their Fitbits and we’re looking forward to the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham in four years time.