Walking over the competition

The jigsaw of Living Streets' Walk to School mascto Strider on the Comedy Carpet.
The jigsaw of Living Streets' Walk to School mascto Strider on the Comedy Carpet.
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Blackpool Council has scooped a top award for its work to promote walking, including the creation of a spectacular jigsaw on the town’s Comedy Carpet.

The authority was nominated for the Charles Maher Award for the event which saw five schools collaborate to create a jigsaw of the Living Streets’ Walk to School mascot, Strider.

Against tough competition, Blackpool Council received a certificate of high commendation from award organisers.

The charity responsible for the accolade, Living Streets, and Blackpool Council are working together on projects to encourage children to walk to school.

They have so far seen a 16 per cent increase in average walk to school rates.

Coun John Jones, cabinet member for highways and transport at Blackpool Council, said: “I am delighted we have won this award.

“I was there on the day to see the jigsaw being created and it was a pretty spectacular sight.

“A tremendous amount of work went into the event but also into promoting walking in general and this is really paying dividends.

“The increase in walking rates is the real reward for the hard work of the team and it will make a big difference to children’s health and wellbeing.”

The award was created by Living Streets to commemorate long-standing member and campaigner Charles Maher.

It recognises an individual, group or local authority which has made an impact in their area or worked to create better conditions for people on their streets.

Fourteen nominations were submitted for the award this year with Blackpool Council one of three groups that received recognition for their work.

The council is one of 11 local authorities across the country taking part in the Walk to School project funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

The project encourages children and their parents to get active by walking to school and 15 Blackpool primary schools have joined in with the project in its first year.

It has proved very popular in schools with monthly badges, awarded for walking at least once a week, becoming highly collectable.

Coun Jones added: “Walking to school not only saves money, it also helps children to build their independence, road safety and social skills.”

If you’d like to know more about the Walk to School project in Blackpool, call 01253 476261 or email travel@blackpool.gov.uk