At this year’s National Walking Summit, Active Travel Minister Trudy Harrison, MP, announced a £2.5 million funding increase for active travel. The aim is not only to increase levels of walking and cycling across the country but to support the goal of 55% of primary school children walking to school by 2025.
At the Summit (22nd March), it was announced that £500,000 would be earmarked for the Modeshift STARS initiative. Its patented accreditation programme has been instrumental in creating pathways for active travel in schools and businesses. The focus now will be to entrench those key behavioural changes required to increase active travel for primary-aged children.
The funding will afford Modeshift STARS an expansion into next year, so more schools and businesses can promote active travel. A new partnership with Bikeability Trust will pilot the Active Travel Academies. The initiative will empower young people as Active Travel Ambassadors as well as providing the skills and infrastructure to walk and cycle to school.
The Living Streets Walk to School Outreach project will also receive an influx of £2million. Since 2017, the Walk to School outreach programme has led to 17 million new walking journeys and 1.8 million fewer car journeys. The investment will allow them to continue running the incredibly successful project in more than 1000 schools.
Speaking at the National Walking Summit, Trudy Harrison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport said:
“Behaviour change outreach programmes are key to giving people the inspiration, information, skills and confidence to enable them to choose to walk, wheel or cycle more of their everyday journeys.
The funding I was pleased to confirm today will allow Living Streets, Modeshift and Bikeability Trust to ramp up activity and work with partners to remove even more barriers to walking and cycling. I’m particularly keen to see progress, including those from more deprived communities in these programmes.”
We at First Step Cycle are looking forward to what this new investment will offer the sector. As we continue to work with our school partners to teach safe pedestrian skills and confident cycling, we look forward to helping many more schools toward their Modeshift goals.
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