Thanks to a newly announced package of funding from the government, up to two million more children will be able to access walk to school and cycle training programmes.
With £60 million worth of investment from Active Travel England, parents will gain more confidence to walk or cycle to school with their children, through funding initiatives that will help to develop road skills and give greater options for greener travel options. Included in the funding will be £50 million to expand Bikeability cycle training for a million more children and young people, expanding on the four million children that have already been trained since 2007.
An additional £5 million of investment will help to support walking to school programmes to help hundreds of thousands of school pupils around the country.
Active Travel Commissioner Chris Boardman said:
“Giving kids transport independence and enabling them to walk, wheel or cycle on the school run is what they want, and what we want for them.
“This £60 million funding package will help put the joy back into journeys and create a generation of young people who feel confident to make healthier and greener travel choices.”
The extension of Cycling UK’s Big Bike Revival will form £4 million of the package, with this already engaging more than 80,000 people of all ages and being extended to March 2025.
Jesse Norman, Decarbonisation Minister, also commented:
“The government wants children up and down the country to benefit from the freedom as well as the huge mental and physical health benefits of cycling. That is why it is investing £60 million in this package of measures to support active travel for young people.”
Schools Minister Nick Gibb added:
“The journey to and from school is an essential part of the school day for every child, and it’s encouraging that Active Travel England is investing in active travel initiatives for children and young people that can improve their health and wellbeing.
Many schools are already encouraging these initiatives locally and this is being supported with our School Sport and Activity Action Plan, which was published earlier this year.
The plan supports initiatives to increase active and safe travel to school such as Walk to School Outreach, School Streets and Bikeability – and these include inclusive delivery for children with special educational needs and disabilities.”
Modeshift STARS and Active Travel Ambassadors programmes will also be extended with £500,000 of investment, with the former helping to give schools, businesses and organisations recognition for excellence in active travel within their community. The Active Travel Ambassadors programme sees ambassadors working with students in secondary school to encourage them to utilise active travel more, helping with green initiatives as well as promoting a healthier lifestyle.
Image credit: iStock