Sheffield City Region’s Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey joined 100 Rotherham school children on their walk to school as part of International Walk to School Month.
Organised by Living Streets, a charity working with the Sheffield City Region (SCR) to enable more families to leave the car at home and scoot, cycle or walk into school, the Park and Stride event saw pupils walk half a mile before the start of their day.
The SCR is working with Living Streets to promote walking and cycling to school children as part of Mayor Dan Jarvis’ commitment to enabling more people to travel on foot, by bike or using public transport.
Whiston Junior and Infant School is one of 20 schools taking part in Living Streets’ WOW, a year-round walk to school challenge, in South Yorkshire. Pupils taking part in WOW are rewarded with collectable badges each month for travelling actively to school, this can include walking, cycling or parking further away from school and completing the final leg of the journey on foot.
On average schools taking part in WOW see a 23% rise in children walking and a 30% reduction in cars at school gates.
Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, said: “I am working with our Active Travel Commissioner Dame Sarah Storey to enable more people to walk, cycle and use public transport in South Yorkshire, including children and their parents.
“There are too many cars around school gates, causing dangerous congestion and forcing our children to breath dirty air. The school run is an opportunity to be active together as a family, before lessons begin.
“I am pleased to be working with Living Streets, who do fantastic work across the country to encourage families to walk or cycle to school. I look forward to seeing children in South Yorkshire benefit from active travel and see a reduction in cars at the school gates.”
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner for the Sheffield City Region, said: “At peak times, one in four cars are on the school run. Our roads are too congested and families are missing out on an opportunity to be active together.
“By working with Living Streets, the SCR is promoting the many benefits active travel has for both children and their parents. By walking, cycling or scooting to school, children are exercising before their school day begins, and by parents taking cars off the road, the air their children breathe becomes less polluted.
“It was a pleasure to join the children of Whiston Junior and Infant School and I hope they encourage other schools in South Yorkshire to start walking, cycling or scooting to school.”
Jenny Wiles, Regional Director (North), Living Streets said: “Pupils from Whiston Junior and Infant School are amongst the many people benefiting from Sheffield City Region’s pledge to enable more walking and cycling.
“Park and Stride is a brilliant solution to the barriers preventing some families from walking to school, including living too far away or having to continue onto work. By parking away from the school gates and walking the last part of the journey, families get to enjoy being active and spending time together whilst helping to reduce congestion, road danger and air pollution.”
Sheffield City Region is working with Living Streets as part of Mayor Dan Jarvis’ commitment to enabling more people to travel on foot, by bike or using public transport. Find out more about his work with Dame Sarah Storey at sheffieldcityregion.org.uk/cyclewalkscr or by following @cyclewalkscr on Twitter.