Minister of State at the Department for Education Nick Gibb MP joined children from River Beach Primary School in Littlehampton for their walk home from school on Friday, December 11.
Accompanying Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, he met with pupils and their parents who take the familiar route from school every day and heard from them about the benefits walking brings.
River Beach Primary School takes part in Living Streets’ Walk Once a Week (WoW) campaign and runs two Park and Stride schemes.
WoW rewards children who walk to school at least once a week with collectable badges.
Nick Gibb handed out the WoW badges to pupils as the school day ended and joined them on a park and stride walk.
Sherry Robinson, project coordinator for Living Streets West Sussex, said: “Walking to – and from - school is an enjoyable experience for children and is an easy way for them to fit some valuable exercise into their day.
“We understand that catchment areas, distance and work commitments can make walking to school difficult for some families. Park & Stride schemes, such as the ones operating at River Beach Primary School, offer a great solution to this.
“By parking a short distance away from the school, children and parents can still get active for part of their journey and help reduce the number of cars around the school gates.
“I’m delighted that Nick Gibb MP was able to join us on this walk to see how investment in schemes such as WoW and Park and Stride can help get more children walking and tackle physical inactivity.”
Mr Gibb said: “Walking is a wonderful way for children to keep fit and healthy and the walk to school allows children to do this whilst spending quality time with family and friends.
“Park and Stride schemes encourage more people to walk regularly and I am very pleased to see so many happy pupils from River Beach Primary School taking part today and collecting their ‘Walk Once a Week’ badges.
“Where possible, I would like to see more parents and pupils choosing to walk to school, not only in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, but nationwide.”
Sue Bingham of River Beach Primary School, said: “River Beach is in an urban area; by promoting walking to school we are working at keeping the traffic down in a heavily populated area.
“Recording on Travel Tracker and earning the WoW badges each month ensures walking is high profile. Our newly appointed Junior Road Safety Officers are responsible for delivering badges to classes, looking at the data and deciding what other promotional activities we will pursue. Strider, the Living Streets mascot, is a big hit at River Beach.”
John O’Brien, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for Highways and Transport, said: “River Beach Primary School has embraced sustainable transport when pupils travel to and from school.
“There are many positive habits that can be formed by doing this, and it is great for the pupils to be recognised in this way.”
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