Walking bus launch is the icing on the cake

Pupils Sydney, three, and Elsie, four, with Leanne Adams and Sarah Savage of Medway Council, Emily Geeson of Countrystyle Recycling, and staff members Betty Abraham and Jacqueline Hopper at the Parkwood Christian Fellowship Preschool’s walking bus launch.

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A road safety themed cake was on the menu at Parkwood Christian Fellowship Preschool in Gillingham for the launch of their walking bus.

The nursery, in Parkwood Green, has been working with Medway Council on road safety so setting up a scheme for children to walk there safely was the logical next step.

Sarah Savage, Medway Council’s safer journeys officer, said the council was “extremely excited”.

“Before the launch, the preschool worked closely with our road safety team to ensure children received an interactive road safety lesson,” she explained.

“Children were introduced to road safety vocabulary and the rules of the road – stop, look, listen and think – with the emphasis on holding a grown-up’s hand to cross the road safely. The bus will help children to put into practice all they have learnt so far and establish a pattern of exercise and routine at an early age.”

Around 60 youngsters – aged from just two years old to four and a half – take part in the walking bus every morning five days a week to travel safely to the preschool.

Children, staff, and supporters take a stroll at the launch of the Walking Bus at Parkwood Christian Fellowship Preschool.

The scheme is part of the KM Charity Team’s walk to school campaign, which aims to encourage an active lifestyle and reduce traffic congestion during peak travel times. The campaign includes walking bus, Active Wow (Walk on Wednesday) and Green Footsteps.

Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, said: “A walking bus offers a safe, healthy and eco-friendly option to get to school. Everyone wears high visibility tabards and the pupils are supervised by approved school staff and parent volunteers as they walk along a set route.”

He added: “It is always a pleasure to see a school setting up a new walking bus and our resources make it easy for organisers and fun for the children.”

The KM Charity Team has been running walk to school schemes in the county for 17 years. Last academic year, the work of the children’s charity helped to cut the number of school-run car journeys by more than 318,000.

The walk to school campaign is a Kent County Council and Medway Council-led initiative supported by Countrystyle Recycling, London Borough of Bexley, Bel UK, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Golding Homes, Orbit, Specsavers, Eurostar, Whitefriars, Jelf, Gallagher Aggregates, Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons’ Charity, Maidstone Borough Council, Ashford Borough Council, Swale Borough Council, Canterbury City Council, and Volker Highways.

Schools can find out more or sign up for green travel by contacting Sarah Clyne at sclyne@thekmgroup.co.uk or calling 0844 264 0291.

The gang’s all here: Walking Bus launch party at Parkwood Christian Fellowship Preschool.

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