Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street joined pupils in Tipton today to celebrate the strides they’ve made to get healthier by walking to school.
Andy Street joined pupils and parents from Glebefields Primary School on a walk to school to hear first-hand about their journey.
The Glebefields youngsters take part in WOW, the year-round walk to school challenge with UK charity Living Streets.
Living Streets mascot Strider joined the Mayor at a special Walk To School assembly
WOW rewards children who walk to school at least once a week with collectable badges and has been shown to boost walking rates by an average of 23 per cent - with a corresponding drop in car use which helps reduce congestion and pollution around the school gates.
The Mayor then joined Living Streets mascot Strider at a special assembly to hand out badges to active travellers.
He said said: “I’m thrilled to be joining families on their walk to school and to celebrate the achievements of these pupils. It’s great to see the impact Living Streets’ work is having with so many children taking to their feet.
“The West Midlands has one of the highest rates of obesity in the country - around 40 per cent of children here leave primary school overweight - and walking more is a great way to help tackle this and other issues such as congestion and air pollution.
“I want more schools to follow in the footsteps of the pupils at Glebefields Primary School and swap four wheels for two feet for the journey to school and start experiencing the benefits of walking more.”
Andy Street’s Mayoral campaign manifesto promised to ‘supercharge cycling and walking’ with ideas that included transforming the West Midlands canal network into safe cycling and walking superhighways.
After a generation of decline in the number of children walking to primary school (from 70% to 53%), central government has set the first ever walk to school target to get 55 per cent of primary school aged pupils walking to school by 2025.
Joe Irvin, Living Streets chief executive, said: “I’m delighted that Andy Street was able to join us to see first-hand the fantastic impact WOW is having in schools in the West Midlands.
“Walking to school is an enjoyable experience and is an easy way for children to fit some valuable exercise into their day.
“I hope the pupils here at Glebefields Primary School inspire others across the West Midlands to start walking more. They’ll be getting healthier and helping the West Midlands cut traffic congestion and pollution at the same time.”