Hundreds of thousands of green journeys were undertaken this academic year thanks to the eco-friendly efforts of schools and families across Kent and Medway.
A celebration event staged at Leeds Castle in Maidstone revealed that the KM Walk to School campaign has achieved 617,320 green journeys since September 2017.
The campaign, which is run by the KM Charity Team, includes the green travel scheme Active Wow (Walk on Wednesday) and encourages families to leave the car at home for the school run and instead make the journey by walking or cycling.
Schools leading the way for KM Walk to School were guests of honour for the official announcement. They were congratulated by the campaign’s mascot Buster Bug as well as supporters from Medway Council, Countrystyle Recycling, Maidstone Borough Council, Volker Highways, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Ashford Borough Council, and Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm Community Fund.
James Sutton from Medway Council said: “We’re delighted to recognise the achievements of our schools. We’re keen to increase the number of walks as part of the school journey and to try and bring down the number of unnecessary car journeys.
“We see so many benefits with walking to school – the road safety skills that are built up, the healthy lifestyles that they adopt, and the cleaner air that they’re able to breathe.”
Emily Geeson from Countryside Recycling added: “Nothing is more important than getting the kids active and healthy in the mornings and getting them ready for school.”
Other organisations backing walk to school – which will see the arrival of the Super Wow scheme in the autumn – include Whitefriars, London Borough of Bexley, Kent County Council, Eurostar, Specsavers, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Orbit, Ashford International Hotel, and Whites Transport.
Schools signed up to Wow have weekly inter-class challenges to compete for the Green Class of the Week Trophy. They also participate in monthly inter-school competitions which award the top or most improved classes with prizes including tickets to leisure attractions or visits by storytellers.
“Schools, pupils, and families across Kent and Medway have really stepped up this year,” said Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team. “Their achievements have been outstanding and they are reaping the benefits of pupils arriving at school alert and ready to learn – as well as fewer cars fighting for space outside the school gate.
“I can’t wait to see how well they do next year – and I hope that more schools are inspired to join in too.”
To register for Super Wow for the 2018-2019 academic year visit www.KmCharityTeam.co.uk/Wow or email Sarah Clyne at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0844 264 0291. Bookings received before July 24 will receive a 20% discount on the price.