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The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street joined pupils in Tipton today (6 February) to celebrate the strides they’ve made to get healthier by walking to school. 

Andy Street joined pupils and parents from Glebefields Primary School on a walk to school to hear first-hand about their journey. 

Pupils at Glebefields Primary School take part in WOW, the year-round walk to school challenge with UK charity, Living Streets. WOW rewards children who walk to school at least once a week with collectable badges.

Pupils are joined by Andy Street for their walk to school

WOW has been shown to increase walking rates by 23 per cent on average, with a corresponding drop in car use – helping to reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates.

The Mayor then joined Strider, the Living Streets mascot, at a special assembly to hand out badges to pupils who have travelled actively.

Andy Street, The Mayor of West Midlands, said:

“I’m thrilled to be joining families on their walk to school and to celebrate the achievements of these pupils. It’s great to see the impact Living Streets’ work is having with so many children taking to their feet.”

Andy Street’s manifesto promised to ‘supercharge cycling and walking’ with ideas that included transforming the West Midlands canal network into superhighways for cycling and walking safely to school and work.

The West Midlands has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country: around 40% of children here leave primary school overweight. Walking more is a great way to help tackle this, along with other issues such as congestion and air pollution.

Andy Street, The Mayor of the West Midlands

Andy Street continued:

“I want more schools to follow in the footsteps of the pupils at Glebefields Primary School and swap four wheels for two feet for the journey to school and start experiencing the benefits of walking more.”

After a generation of decline in the number of children walking to primary school (from 70% to 53%), central government has recognised the importance of walking to school and set the first ever walk to school target to get 55 per cent of primary school aged pupils walking to school by 2025.

Joe Irvin, Chief Executive, Living Streets, said:

“I’m delighted that Andy Street was able to join us to see first-hand the fantastic impact WOW is having in schools in the West Midlands. 

“Walking to school is an enjoyable experience and is an easy way for children to fit some valuable exercise into their day.

“I hope the pupils here at Glebefields Primary School inspire others across the West Midlands to start walking more. They’ll be getting healthier and helping the West Midlands cut traffic congestion and pollution at the same time.”

Andy Street walks to school
Pupils and Strider get moving in a special assembly