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Putting pupils in the driving seat

By Liz Nicholls

Politicians have joined forces with the KM Charity Team to help create more than 1,000 road safety champions in Kent schools.

Councillors John Wright (Sittingbourne South), Sarah Hamilton (Tunbridge Wells Rural), James McInroy (Tunbridge Wells West) and Michael Payne (Tonbridge) are supporting the KM Charity Team's road safety work with schools.

Councillors John Wright (Sittingbourne South), Sarah Hamilton (Tunbridge Wells Rural), James McInroy (Tunbridge Wells West) and Michael Payne (Tonbridge) are supporting the KM Charity Team's road safety work with schools.

Kent County Councillors have donated funds for the KM Road Safety Campaign - a drive to excite pupils about taking the lead in road safety awareness.

Altogether 1,200 youngsters will have the chance to become ambassadors for their schools, undertake fun tasks to promote road safety, and compete for limited edition t-shirts.

A launch event for the campaign was staged at County Hall in Maidstone and attended by councillors John Wright for Sittingbourne South, Michael Payne representing Tonbridge, Mike Whiting for Swale West, and Tunbridge Wells councillors Sarah Hamilton and James McInroy.

Cllr Whiting said: “I have no doubt the work done by the KM Charity Team with road safety, particularly in our schools, is preventing injury and saving lives. I have been a supporter of the charity for some time and have seen how the team engages with young people in a fun way to get across a very serious message.”

The children’s charity works with primary schools to encourage pupils to walk or cycle to school as often as possible and learn how to be safer pedestrians.

Pupils test their road safety knowledge via online multiple choice tests - based on the Government’s Junior Highway Code – where they can earn certificates at bronze, silver, or gold level.

“This campaign teaching children and their parents road safety is hugely important,” said Cllr Wright. “We all too often see incidents outside our schools so anything we can do to minimise that risk has to be worthwhile. I encourage all schools, teachers, parents, and children to take an active part in making our roads and children safer.”

Other KCC councillors endorsing the KM Charity Team’s work include Ann Allen, MBE, who said: “I am delighted to support this scheme. I look forward to it making a positive difference in Wilmington.”

Dartford East representative Cllr Penny Cole added: "With the amount of traffic on the roads increasing year on year, it is more important than ever that children are given these important road safety messages - so that parents can feel able to let their children out of the house.”

Simon Dolby, chief executive of the KM Charity Team, said: “We are so thankful to everyone for their support as we know how many demands are made on councils’ ever more limited funds.

“We are passionate about our work and believe that funds used to protect children are a good investment in the future – developing safer pedestrians and encouraging a healthier, more active lifestyle.”

The road safety drive is part of the KM Group’s Year of Walking campaign which will run throughout 2018 and showcase the KM Charity Team’s work via print, KentOnline, and kmfm radio.

Organisations supporting green travel include Kent County Council, Medway Council, London Borough of Bexley, Orbit, Golding Homes, Specsavers, Eurostar, Whitefriars, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Countrystyle Recycling, and Volker Highways.

Schools can find about green travel schemes including Active Wow and Green Footsteps at www.kmcharityteam.co.uk/wow

  • The KM Charity Team also runs the reading reward scheme Buster’s Book Club. School literacy leaders are invited to visit www.bustersbookclub.co.uk

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