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Green Footsteps taking giant strides

MORE than 36,000 children have switched from the school run to walking this term because of an inovative green scheme.

The KM Green Footsteps initiative operates two walk to school schemes, Walk on Wednesday and Walking Bug, to encourage families to walk rather than drive to school.

Run by the a partnership of organisations including KCC, Medway Council and the Kent Messenger Media Group-inspired Walking Bus project, the trio have been delighted at the success of the scheme.

Between the start of October and December 10 36,100 children switched from car to walking to school. Walking Bug has just under 100 classes using the scheme this term while Walk on Wednesday, or WOW as it is known in schools, has more than 1,100 classes involved.

WOW asks families to walk their children once a week to school and rewards pupils with bronze, silver and gold stickers which they keen on colourful tally cards. When the card is full they receive a reward.

Walking Bug is more intensive with children walking every day and if the class meet aseries of tarket number of walks to school they are rewarded with exciting class-based activities based on Kent landmarks or attractions. Both schemes can help schools earn healthy school and eco school status.

Simon Dolby, the Kent Messenger Media Group's community and charity projects' manager, who is also chairman of the walk to school charity, said: "This is the first year WOW has been offered to schools Kent-wide and to have so many involved and for it to be making such an impact already is great news."

"The schools have been doing a great job in helping to create a pro-walking culture and stressing the health, environmental and road safety benefits to children and the wider community of abandoning the school run. It is all extremely positive."

KM Green Footsteps is sponsored by HSBC, Pfizer and the Chatham Maritime Trust. For more information call the walk to school charity's office on 01227 825383 or view www.kmwalktoschool.co.uk

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