Sustrans has won a Community Fund grant of £217 000 to boost its ‘Safe Routes to Schools’ project.
The ‘Safe Routes to Schools’ project – not started by Sustrans but certainly popularised by Sustrans – aims to encourage schemes that provide children with safe, pleasant and healthier alternatives to travelling to school in a car. These can take the form of walking buses, traffic-free and safer on-road cycling routes, traffic calming and so on. The project also works to improve road safety and reduce child casualties, improve children’s health and development as well as reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
Sustrans took up the reins on this project in 1995 as a three-year pilot scheme with ten partner schools in four local authority areas to create safe routes in partnership with children and their communities to enable them to walk and cycle to school safely. Sustrans’ SRS Information Service was established in 1998 from a previous Community Fund grant and is now ready to expand with this new funding.
The new grant is payable over the next three years and will allow Sustrans to help pupils, schools and the wider community to start and take ownership of their own SRS schemes. School Champions – teachers, parents, pupils and governors – who are often the driving force behind SRS schemes, will benefit from training and support via seminars, conferences, information packs, schools newsletters and a helpline, said Sustrans. Communities will benefit from improved safety, access and ownership of schemes they have designed, set up and are managing.