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Walk to School programme gets £2.1m funding boost

Government sees Living Streets outreach programme as key element of active travel ambition

Mark Moran
21 May 2021
Living Streets` annual Walk to School Week took place between 17-21 May
Living Streets` annual Walk to School Week took place between 17-21 May


Living Streets’ Walk to School Outreach programme has received £2.1m from the Department from Transport.

The initiative, which has been running with Department for Transport (DfT) support since 2017, promotes the health and environmental benefits of walking to school for children aged 5 to 11 and their families.

The funding announcement comes at the end of Walk to School Week and is part of the DfT’s drive to enable more forms of active travel in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The DfT said the Walk to School programme has a key role to play in the government’s ambition to ensure more than half of children aged 5 to 10 are walking to school by 2025.

The new funding builds on the £1m that the DfT provided to Living Streets in 2020 to 2021 to deliver a Walk Back to School programme for the academic year, extending the walking charity’s reach to support children returning to school last autumn.

Cycling and walking minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Walking can improve our health, ease traffic and help clean up our environment, so we’re proud to be investing in Living Streets’ vital campaign to get more children walking to school. This initiative has already inspired thousands of youngsters and their families to adopt greener active travel habits that will last a lifetime and I’m delighted that this funding will help enable thousands more.”

Mary Creagh, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “It’s vital that we scale up for walking to build back better for children and families after a difficult year. Living Streets’ walk to school programme is increasing the number of children walking to school and reducing cars, congestion and air pollution around school gates. This funding will help more pupils enjoy the fresh air, freedom and fun that walking to school brings.”

During 2019 to 2020 the Walk to School Outreach saw walking to school rates increase by 40% for new schools that took part, with increased walking rates sustained for existing project schools.

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