North East Lincolnshire Council and its regeneration partner, EQUANS, have received funding to support a select number of primary schools to take part in WOW – the walk to school challenge from Living Streets. We have partnered with Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking to encourage children to be more active by walking, cycling or scooting to and from school.
The challenge asks children to self-report how they get to school every day using the interactive WOW Travel Tracker. If pupils travel sustainably (walk, wheel, cycle, scoot or ‘Park and Stride’) at least once a week for a month, they get rewarded with a WOW badge. There is a new badge for them to collect each month.
WOW aims to increase physical activity levels and encourage healthy habits in children, whilst reducing congestion, traffic and air pollution. Typically WOW schools see a 30 per cent reduction in car journeys to the school gates and a 23 per cent increase in walking rates.
Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said: “Pupils are so much better for walking, cycling or scooting to school, not just for their physical health but for the chance it gives them to get outside in the fresh air and socialise with peers. I fully support this challenge and would encourage as many schools and pupils to get involved as possible to do their bit to help the environment and reduce the number of vehicles on our roads.”
Kayleigh Morley, Vice Principal at Pilgrim Academy, said: “The Walk to School Challenge encouraged our students to think about how they are coming to school and creating conversations with their friends every morning about how they came. They even encourage each other to walk, cycle or park & stride as part of friendly competition, it’s been a great way to promote health and activeness amongst the children.”
Alex Pickerden, Sport and Pupil Premium Lead Teacher at Yarborough Academy, said: “We love how inclusive the challenge is as it applies to everyone and we also adapt it to meet the needs of the children. They’re actively talking about it every morning and they love the badges. I would 100% recommend this to other schools as it gets the children to think differently about the way in which they travel and without this opportunity they wouldn’t.”
Becca Moss, Project Coordinator at Living Streets, said: “Running WOW in North East Lincolnshire has been a great experience. The council has been extremely helpful with targeting local primary schools that they feel will benefit most from the project. The participating schools have been extremely responsive and engaged, and pupils seem to be really enjoying themselves. I love the competitive spin the schools have put on the challenge!”
If you would like your primary school to get involved, please complete the form at https://livingstreets.netdonor.net/page/92582/data/1 and Living Streets will get in touch with your school.