Beat­ing that ‘get in the car’ habit

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

AN in­cred­i­ble 240,000 school run car jour­neys were taken off the county’s roads dur­ing the last aca­demic year thanks to the KM Walk to School part­ner­ship.

The char­ity’s achieve­ments were cel­e­brated at an awards night in Rochester last Fri­day which saw a schemes in Ash­ford and Folke­stone among the win­ners.

Walk to School be­gan in 2000 with just a hand­ful of schemes, but now has thou­sands of chil­dren and vol­un­teers.

Par­ents and chil­dren em­brac­ing the Walk­ing Bus scheme took 100,000 cars off the road, and Walk­ing Bug and Walk on Wed­nes­day schemes re­moved a fur­ther 140,000 jour­neys.

KM Walk to School chair­man, Si­mon Dolby, said: “This has been an amaz- ing year - we have seen an ex­plo­sion of in­ter­est in our walk to school work.”

The Walk­ing Bus has far ex­ceeded its tar­get of 100 buses, with 136 now op­er­at­ing in the county and an­other 30 in the pipe­line.

There are now 1,000 vol­un­teers tak­ing a turn each week to es­cort a Walk­ing Bus, and those buses are trans­port­ing 3,000 chil­dren to school each week.

The awards evening was at­tended by guests drawn from schools, vol­un­teers, spon­sors and sup­port­ers.

Churchill School’s Walk­ing Bus at Hawkinge won the top Walk­ing Bus in the Folke­stone area. In just over a year, num­bers us­ing the bus shot up from four chil­dren to 28.

The school was suc­cess­ful when it in­tro­duced Walk on Wed­nes­day last year, and one of its classes came top for hav­ing the high­est num­ber of pupils in the district us­ing the scheme.

Ker­ryanne Larsen, of Fur­ley Park Pri­mary School, won top Walk­ing Bus vol­un­teer for the Ash­ford area for her tire­less ef­forts in pro­mot­ing and sus­tain­ing the Walk­ing Bus and for her be­lief in its value to the com­mu­nity.

Top Walk on Wed­nes­day (WOW) and Walk­ing Bug school in the Ash­ford area was Kingsnorth Pri­mary.

The school has taken 4,015 school­run car jour­neys off lo­cal roads in the last aca­demic year through its par­tic­i­pa­tion in Walk­ing Bug and WOW, and now has six classes tak­ing part in WOW.

The Ash­ford Dover and Folke­stone Walk­ing Bus win­ners: Top Bus The Churchill School, Top Co-or­di­na­tor Fur­ley Park, Top WOW School Kingsnorth CEP Pic­ture: Nick John­son pd 1515144

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