What a year 2017 has been!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed your journey with us through the year and will join us in celebrating the successes we've had.
Here are some highlights...
The consultation around pedestrianisation of Oxford Street opened this year and 62% said they are in favour of it going ahead – with over 6,000 responses from Living Streets supporters. From our years of campaigning for this to happen, we’ve been urging as many people as possible to have their say on how the pedestrianisation now looks. Next year we’ll be working with the Mayor and Transport for London to help mould the final design.
This year’s National Travel Survey data showed a rise in the number of primary school children walking to school for the first time in over a decade. We can now say that over half of those travelling to primary school do so on foot – a real achievement in a time when walking as a mode of travel is generally declining.
Our project work in schools is a great start in reaching our mission to have every child that can walking to school. Along with the Government’s commitment to increase numbers walking to school, we believe that real change is within our grasp.
In November Modeshift awarded us for our community work with older people. Our projects running in Leicester and Sheffield go a long way in making older people feel more comfortable walking locally. Both projects have worked with local communities to identify problem areas and brought people together through walking. Regular groups have been set up and new facilities put in (such as handrails) to enable better walking for those with vulnerabilities.
This May’s National Walking Month achieved the most media coverage yet. With over 1,400 pieces mentioning walking – we managed to generate great noise around our awareness month. From this, along with some other fantastic media coverage this year, we were shortlisted for the PR Team of the Year Award by Charity Times.
New Metro Mayors were elected in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands this year and we worked hard to ensure that in both, all candidates mentioned walking in their manifestos. We are now liaising with the elected Mayors teams to work on how walking can make both cities function better. In Manchester the appointment of Chris Boardman as Cycling & Walking Commissioner was welcomed by local supporters across the city-region and we’re working closely with him to implement some of our steps to create a walking city.
Our Local Groups are creating a community for change across the UK, advocating for streets built around people. This year has seen many successes and campaign firsts. Hackney Living Streets Group led the way to street redesign with their community ‘parklet’ project. They have filled four visitor books and gathered over 700 names for their petition to give residents the right to apply for permits in parking areas to create green space.
Improving air quality is high on the priority list for many of our Local Groups. Bath Living Streets Group are working with partner organisations to ensure that the council’s action plan meets its ambitious objectives - so essential for a densely populated city. In Leeds two Living Streets supporters have come together to start a new Local Group. They want to highlight accessibility issues to bring about change in their communities.
The Scottish Transport Awards 2017 resulted in the Scotland team winning the ‘Excellence in Walking & Public Realm’ award for WOW, our year-round walk to school challenge. Our Chris Thompson was present at the ceremony to pick up the award which now takes pride of place in the Edinburgh office!
Living Streets has gone bilingual, producing a range of materials for schools in Wales to get involved in WOW in Welsh. With a handful of early adopters in Cardiff and Newport, schools are recording their trips and getting badges for the very first time in Wales. A successful School Route Audit pilot project resulted in a free bilingual toolkit to improve walking routes around all Welsh schools.
Our first ever Walking Summit proved a huge hit in March. Thanks to those who attended! We had speeches from Janette Sadik-Khan, Ben Still and Will Norman. We presented our Charles Maher Award to the Loiterers Resistance Movement in Manchester and launched our Blueprint for Change – 7 steps to a walking city.
The last academic year saw almost 8.5 million walk to school trips recorded on our WOW Travel Tracker. We re-launched our WOW App this academic year and already have 4,000 downloads.