The charity behind the biggest drive to help children walk to school, Living Streets, is encouraging Harrow families and those across the UK to leave the car at home as schools return following the summer break.
Times have changed dramatically. A generation ago, 70% of primary school-aged children walked to school, now it’s around half. With rising fuel prices and a lot of uncertainty around rising bills, Living Streets is advocating walking to school to save money.
Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “The start of a new academic year is the perfect opportunity to try something new. And making small changes can help alleviate some of the rising living costs we are all facing and help the environment.
“Most people live within walking distance of their nearest primary school. Leaving the car at home for short trips, such as the school journey, could save hundreds of pounds over the year. At the same time, families will benefit from the health benefits of being active and the social benefits of spending time together.”
Living Streets is being supported this year by CBBC children television presenter, Dr Ronx, who has joined the charity as the celebrity ambassador for WOW – their walk to school challenge. The CBBC presenter and emergency doctor will promote WOW and the health benefits of walking to school for the 2022-23 academic year.
WOW sees pupils who walk, wheel, cycle or scoot to school at least once a week for a month rewarded with a WOW badge. WOW schools typically see walking rates increase by 23 per cent with a 30 per cent reduction in cars at the school gates.
Dr Ronx said: “I’m thrilled to be the new ambassador for WOW – the walk to school challenge from Living Streets. With notable increases in air pollution, rising childhood inactivity and post-lockdown poor mental health, encouraging children to be more active and ditching school run drives for more sustainable modes of transport is imperative.”
WOW is available to some schools fully funded for 2022-23. To find out if your school is eligible, visit livingstreets.org.uk/walktoschool.