More than 70 per cent of journeys made by children travelling in to a Cambridge primary school are now on foot just two months after they took up a charity’s walking challenge.

Children at Icknield Primary School in Lynton Way, Sawston, are being asked to make a record of the way they get to school as part of everyday walking charity Living Streets’ Walk once a Week (WoW) initiative.

The charity is working in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council in a bid to teach youngsters about the benefits of exercise in staving off weight gain and illness in later life.

All children who notch up enough “green journeys” in a month are awarded a collectable badge depicting a cartoon image of nature and green energy manufacturing around the globe.

The school has already handed out 312 badges, with 72 per cent of the miles clocked up since the school’s WoW launch walked, cycled or scooted. Children who live in the village are encouraged to walk to school while those living in outlying villages and towns are making use of the school’s Park and Stride programme, where parents or guardians park up and walk the last leg of the journey in with the children.

Each class is pitted against the others at the school, vying to see which form can notch up the largest number of children walking to class. A winning form will be named during assembly every month.

The WoW initiative is going very well at Icknield and the children are already enjoying their walk into school. Often it is a precious time spent with a parent or guardian each morning but they also enjoy being active and the badges act as an incentive.

Stephanie Burton, Living Streets Project Coordinator (Cambridgeshire)

Headteacher Anneka Stockdale said: “We have always been a very green school. We have an environmental committee and teach the children about the environment. WoW has been great the children are very enthusiastic. They love getting the badges. They have really taken the health message on board and they understand that fewer car journeys is better for the environment.

“Year 4 have been the best so far, with 80 per cent of their journeys on foot. But they have all been very good. Steph has been brilliant at getting the message across and enthusing the children.”

Most of the children live in Sawston but some come from much further afield and it isn’t practical for them to walk here. But they can often use our Park and Stride.”

The Living Streets Walk once a Week (WoW) programme is now up and running in 22 Cambridgeshire schools. On average, schools taking part see a 23 per cent increase in the number of children regularly walking to school.

The 11-month initiative, which is designed to instil in children a life-long habit for walking, was launched at the end of last year. To celebrate the success of the first month, the school received a visit from Cambridge County Councillor Tony Orgee and Living Streets’ mascot, Strider.

Research has shown that walking for just 20 minutes four times a week has a marked effect on future health. It can stave off diseases such as diabetes and strokes and can help to lower people’s blood pressure.

 

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Notes to Editors:

Contact Tanya Braun, Communications Manager, Living Streets, 020 7456 9790.

We are Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking.

We want to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. We believe that a walking nation means progress for everyone.

Our ambition is to get people of all generations to enjoy the benefits that this simple act brings and to ensure all our streets are fit for walking.

For more than 85 years we’ve been a beacon for walking. In our early days our campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossings and speed limits. Now our campaigns and local projects deliver real change to overcome barriers to walking and our groundbreaking initiatives, such as the world’s biggest Walk to School campaign, encourage millions of people to walk.