Claire lives in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester. When we spoke to her, two of her sons, Ryan and Adam, were taking part in WOW, our year-long walk to school challenge.
Here she tells us about the benefits of walking to school - from a mother's perspective.
Ryan (7) and Adam (6) both attend the local school, Cams Lane Primary. Claire also has an older son who she used to walk to school, but she mostly drove her two younger sons to school before they started WoW (Walk Once a Week).
Claire first came across Living Streets’ Walk to School campaign when Cams Lane Primary School joined the WoW scheme and sent home parent letters.
The children record their walking journeys on colourful wall charts and earn monthly badges if they walk to school at least once a week, which they love to collect.
At their school, the scheme has been part-funded by the Department of Health and Bury Council, to increase exercise levels amongst children and parents, reduce congestion on the roads and improve local air quality.
Claire and her sons rarely walked to school before the introduction of WoW, but it has inspired and encouraged the family to walk and the boys love receiving their badges.
Since starting WOW, Claire and the boys have gone from walking to school every Monday to walking to school at least three times a week.
Claire says Ryan and Adam have developed a real enjoyment for walking and often go and walk by the canal near their house.
They also spend more time outdoors and go for bike rides more than they used to.
Claire says she definitely talks more with her boys compared with when they drove to school as they used to just get in the car and listen to the radio and didn’t really talk. As well as spending more quality time together, Claire says her boys are getting more road sense because the traffic in the morning is so heavy and they are more aware of this.
“We talk more in general and the boys are more observant of the environment around them.”
Even the weather didn’t put Claire and her boys off walking to school as her boys quite enjoy walking in the rain. They won’t drive in the snow either so walking to school was the ideal method of travel for the family.
If you put wellies on boys and they can jump in puddles, then they are happy with anything.
Claire has not only seen the positive effects WoW has had on her family but also the effects it has had on other families too.
I used to see a parent who lived about a 5 minutes walk away drive her kids to school but I don’t see her driving anymore. She seems to be walking which is a positive because you can actually see the school from where she lives!
Claire says the main benefit that WoW has brought her is the coming together of the family and the boys have looked forward to the time they get to walk together. Claire also appreciated the environmental and cost benefits of to walking to school.
I won’t be dropping the walking habits. The fact that it is better for the cars, pollution and saving petrol means I see it as a benefit no matter what.
Claire would definitely recommend WoW to other families:
“It’s a really good scheme as it allows the family to spend quality time together. Walking to school holds health benefits, it decreases the amount of traffic around the school and in most cases people don’t need to drive to primary school as they are local.”
Find out about our year-long walk to school challenge.