As part of Walk to School Week (17-21 May) local Change4Life partners are encouraging parents and students to take advantage of local walking bus schemes.
Walk to School Week encourages primary school children and their parents to leave the car at home and walk to school. This builds a habit of walking which we hope will remain with them for the rest of their lives as a part of an active lifestyle.
Powered by leg-work and supervised by responsible adults, walking buses help kids to meet their need for daily exercise. At least two adult volunteers walk along with the children, one leading the group while another is placed last in line. The children, donned in reflective vests, walk along predetermined routes that have been approved by a Road Safety Officer, adding kids at “stations” along the way.
Walking Buses have proven to be extremely successful in the past with almost 300 volunteers taking part, in fact Southend has often been a role model of best practise for other areas.
Margaret Gray, Associate Director of Public Health for NHS South East Essex said:
“We hope that local parents take part in Walk to School Week while also continuing to encourage their children to walk more. Today’s children are often driven to many of their activities, when just a generation ago, children typically walked or rode their bikes. Concerns about their children’s safety can often keep parents from allowing their children to walk to school, but Walking Buses offer a safe and healthy way for children to get to and from school.”
Helen Waller from the walking bus scheme at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said:
“As a parent you needn’t walk every day we understand that you may work but we are equally grateful if you are able to walk some of the time, it may even ease your daily routine.”
For more information on walking bus schemes please visit the reception area of the below schools for an induction pack. Alternatively, please call: 01702 215003 and ask for information on walking buses or email [email protected]
Participating schools include: Blenheim, Bournes Green, Chalkwell Hall, Earls Hall, Eastwood, Edwards Hall, Heycroft, Sacred Heart, St George’s, St Helen’s or St Michael’s.
Why Walk to School?
- People in cars can suffer three times as much pollution as pedestrians because they are sitting in the line of the exhaust fumes from the car in front.
- Walking instead of driving saves, on average, £400 per year.
- Everyone can factor walking into their school journey- you don’t need any special equipment.
- Walking can help develop independence. Children will learn road safety skills which will help them with the journey to secondary school later in life.
- Most parents and children can comfortably walk 1 mile in around 20 minutes!
- Walking to school is a great way for your children to increase their levels of exercise. 9 out of 10 children could grow up with life threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease partly because they aren’t getting enough exercise.
- Up to 72% of children aren’t meeting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise per day walking to school is a great way to help get those minutes up!
- Walking with your children is good for you too – it improves your heart and circulation, increases mental health and wellbeing, helps with weight loss and boosts your immune system.
How Does The Walking Bus Work?
The Walking Bus is a simple concept that helps kids to meet their need for daily exercise while offering parents the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their children are well supervised by responsible adults. At least two adult volunteers walk along with the children, one leading the group while another is placed last in line. The children, donned in reflective vests, walk along predetermined routes that have been approved by a Road Safety Officer, adding kids at “stations” along the way. Typically, children who participate in the Walking Bus are between five and eleven years of age.
Currently one in five adults in south east Essex are obese and the proportion of children who are obese and overweight is continuing to rise.
To find out more about the national Change4Life programme visit www.nhs.uk/change4life or call 0300 123 3434.