Derry parents are being urged to take to ditch the car this month and join a new campaign to get parents and children more active throughout Walk to School Month.
Mayor of Derry, Cllr Brenda Stevenson, is backing the initiative and is calling on all local parents to support the scheme which was announced by Transport Minister Danny Kennedy this week.
She said the benefits for Derry families were “twofold.”
She explained: “We are all aware of the benefits of walking and cycling as part of a healthier lifestyle, and this scheme aims to instil the message in younger children that exercise should be a regular part of our daily routine.
“Northern Ireland faces an increasing problem in terms of both childhood obesity and rising levels of Type 2 diabetes, and exercise is essential in targeting these issues as well as a adopting a healthier diet.
“Parents have the opportunity to help their children improve their overall fitness and well being by simply taking an extra half hour or so out of their day and getting them to walk or cycle to school.
“The benefits to the environment will also be significant if there is less congestion on our roads and less pollution as a result.
“I would encourage all teachers to support this scheme and local parents by highlighting the benefits of walking to school and the wider impact of exercise on our general health in the classroom.”
She concluded: “And, of course, I call upon all parents to leave the car at home and make the small daily lifestyle changes that will ultimately benefit children for the rest of their lives.”
As part of Walk to School Month, Travelwise NI has issued electronic copies of posters and leaflets to all schools to enlist the help of parents in encouraging pupils to walk or cycle to school.
Printed copies of this literature are available to all schools by contacting Travelwise NI on 028 9054 0096 or email [email protected] to arrange delivery.
For further information on the benefits of walking and cycling visit TravelwiseNI.