The DfT has confirmed it will provide Living Streets with more than £600k to encourage more primary school children to walk to school.
The funding will enable Living Streets to deliver its Walk to School programme for another year, including the WOW initiative – a year-round challenge which rewards those who walk to school at least once a week with collectable badges.
According to Living Streets, WOW has led to has contributed to a 23% increase in walking rates and has reduced congestion outside school gates by an average of 30%.
The new funding will benefit a number of local authority areas that partner Living Streets on the WOW initiative: Birmingham City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester, Merseytravel, West Midlands Combined Authority and West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
Living Streets says walking rates to primary schools have ‘dropped dramatically’ over the past 20 years, with 53% of pupils currently walking to school, compared with 70% ‘a generation ago’.
Joe Irvin, Living Streets CEO, said: “We want every child who can, to walk to school so the extension of the Walk to School Outreach project is a step in helping us achieve this goal.
“Walking to school helps children build healthy habits for life, reduces congestion and air pollution around schools, improving safety and gives families quality time before and after school.”
As part of its Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy, the Government outlined plans to have 55% of primary school children walking to school by 2025.