St Albans-based founder of PlayCulture, Ben Roper, has been using innovative outdoor games to improve people's mental health.

The "outdoor games for adult brains' are also a 'sneaky' way of improving fitness, according to the brainchild of the social enterprise.

Ben runs free-to-attend 'real-world games' supported by the PlayCulture app every week in iconic London locations such as the Barbican, Kings Cross and the South Bank.

These games "fix being a grown up" according to the founder, helping people's mental health and increasing their fitness without them realising it.

Ben adds: "We've had people accidentally run a 10k in a single evening!

"App-supported games are very much like video games in lots of ways but doing this out in the real world is an underdeveloped genre.

"It's an extension of playing as a kid but I think as we grow up our brains change.

"Adults demand a bit more structure and games that are not purely physical to play, but have a mental element or a social element as well.

“We're also attracting people who wouldn't otherwise move. Our games are very attractive to a neurodiverse crowd.

"These are people who often don’t feel comfortable in a traditional sporting environment, in a directly physically competitive space."

To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13 to May 19), PlayCulture has received £18,000 from UnLtd, a charity which funds and supports social entrepreneurs tackling the key issues facing society.

UnLtd are working with Sport England to award a total of £800,000 to social entrepreneurs wanting to start or scale their ideas.

The joint programme, Movement for Change, will fund around 80 social entrepreneurs across England, with almost £340,000 already awarded.


Mark Norbury, chief executive of UnLtd, commented: “Social entrepreneurs are tackling inequalities and mental health challenges with inspired wellbeing solutions and activities.

"They are making a powerful difference in communities – at a time when so many of us have been struggling.”

Further information about PlayCulture can be found at