Living Streets Scotland, part of the UK charity for everyday walking has partnered with the City of Edinburgh Council to launch a wide-reaching programme to help more children walk to school.

WOW – the year-round walk to school challenge is Living Streets Scotland’s award-winning behaviour change scheme to encourage and enable more children to walk to school. WOW will be running in 19 schools across Edinburgh in 2019, joining over 210 schools across Scotland in the mission to increase active travel to school.

To launch the campaign, Strider, Living Streets’ mascot took a mini tour of the schools that will be taking part. Assemblies highlighting the benefits of walking were held where pupils talked about their journeys to school and learnt about the benefits of being active.

Granton PrimarySchool

Encouraging active travel amongst the whole population of Edinburgh is extremely important to us, so it’s great to see the WOW initiative challenging our youngest generation to get walking too.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener

With WOW, pupils log their daily journeys to school on the WOW Travel Tracker. Those who walk to school at least once a week for a month earn a WOW badge, which has been designed by pupils in a UK-wide competition and made from recycled yoghurt pot material.   

Schools which take part in WOW see a 23 per cent increase in pupils walking to school on average and a corresponding drop in car use; reducing congestion outside the school gates and increasing safety.

This partnership is supported by The City of Edinburgh Council and Smarter Choices, Smarter Places funding, provided by Paths for All.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“Walking to school is an easy and accessible way for children to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives, helping them arrive fit, refreshed and ready to learn.

“Walking to school is also a great way for children to learn vital road safety skills and build lifelong healthy habits. 

“We’re thrilled to have more Scotland schools on board; I’m sure it will make a huge difference to their pupils’ health and happiness.”

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said:

“Not only will WOW help children to get more healthy and active, but by promoting walking to school instead of jumping in the car, it will help create a safer, less congested environment at the school gates. I look forward to seeing the city’s pupils smallest striders on their way to and from school”