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Leicester gets funding to promote walking

Published on 20 June 2016

LEICESTER has been successful in bidding for a share of money to encourage more of its residents to walk to school or work.

The ‘Walk To’ bid, which was submitted by a consortium including Leicester City Council, will see £2.48m from the Department for Transport shared out between 16 local authorities.

The funding will be used to build on work already being undertaken with schools and workplaces to increase the amount of people who walk regularly. It will allow work to be extended to secondary schools, colleges and universities.

In Leicester, up to 70 schools will get the chance to take part in the project, which will be delivered by Living Streets – the charity for everyday walking – in partnership with Leicester City Council.

Schools will be given resources to run initiatives to encourage more walking, as well as dedicated support from a local Living Streets co-ordinator.

Primary schools will run Living Streets’ ‘WOW’ challenge – a year-round walk to school challenge, where children earn collectible badges for walking to school.

Secondary schools, colleges and universities will be provided with materials to get students walking more. There will also be targeted work with small groups of students, who will get the chance to devise and run their own walking campaigns.

This new funding will continue the work that has been going on in Leicester since September 2012, funded by the Department for Transport.

Staff from Living Streets will also be working with a selection of employers within walking distance of Leicester railway station and the new Haymarket Bus Station in Charles Street.

People working in this area will be encouraged to make a walking pledge, identifying short journeys they could walk regularly and then pledging to do so, increasing their commitment to make a change.

Cllr Adam Clarke, assistant city mayor responsible for energy and sustainability, said: “This project, along with others to encourage more people to walk, has seen the number of people walking past our monitoring sites rise from 27,686 in 2011 to 32,239 in 2015 – a 16 per cent rise – bucking the national trend of a decline in walking.

“We’re proud that the initiatives we’ve already put in place have had this effect, and we’ll continue to work with our partners to encourage more people to choose sustainable transport – for their own health, as part of our commitment to improving air quality, and because it’s fun.”

Joe Irvin, CEO at Living Streets, the charity for everyday walking, said: “We’re extremely pleased to hear that our work with Leicester City Council will continue to be supported by the Department for Transport.

“Our aim is to improve everyday walking routes and encourage people to walk more – whether to school, to work or to the shops. We look forward to working in the next year with our partners, in our mission to create a walking nation.”

Travel information and more details of sustainable travel projects can be found at www.choosehowyoumove.co.uk

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