Get walking in Hackney

Pupils in Hackney will be encouraged to stride out on the pavements later this month as they take part in a very important annual event: National Walk to School Week 2010 (17 – 21 May).

Twenty schools in the borough will be involved in the ‘Poetry in Motion’ initiative organised by Hackney Council’s School Travel Plan team.

Students are being encouraged to walk to school as many days as possible and write about what they see and their experiences on the journey. They can then submit a poem about walking to school for a competition, and the best ones will be published in a special book to commemorate the event.

The Petchey Academy will also be getting involved with ‘Free Your Feet’, part of Living Street’s ‘Step Up’ campaign that aims to get more secondary school students walking at least part of the way to school.

Year 7 and Year 8 students are being encouraged to walk as much as they can and complete their personal record card to be in with a chance of winning an ipod at the end of the week.

Steve Douglas, Corporate Director for Neighbourhoods and Regeneration, said:
“It’s already established that walking is key in fighting childhood obesity, but it can also be beneficial to children in other ways, including helping them to learn vital road safety skills. Walking as part of our daily journeys, or even once a week, also brings great benefits for individuals and for the borough with less congestion and emissions, and during Walk to School Week we are asking parents and children to give it a go.”

With the latest figures showing that we jump in the car for over a fifth of journeys shorter than one mile, Hackney staff have been leading the way and supporting the Council’s efforts to promote the benefits of walking by taking part in last month’s Walk to Work Week (26-30 April).

Walking all or part of the commute is fun, green and healthy and can be part of even the busiest lives. Commuters across the country were urged to walk their way to a healthier lifestyle for the third year by charity Living Streets who run the Walking Works campaign.

Council staff took up the challenge on 28 April, with a group walking from Highbury and Islington to the Town Hall in Hackney Central as part of their journey in to work. Another group got involved during their lunch break by walking around London Fields.

Maintaining the walking theme, Hackney’s Leisure and Physical Activity Team will be continuing their ‘I Love Walking’ initiative with interesting taster walks from a local library to the open spaces around the borough.

If you are looking for free simple steps towards a healthy lifestyle, why not join in on 15 May from Shoreditch Library; on 18 May from Shoreditch Library; or on 20 May from Clapton Library. Participants can get a walking pack with a pedometer, NHS health check and free water and fruit.

In addition, the Council will soon be launching a new walking map, ‘Step into Hackney’. The free walking guide, specially designed to fit into an oyster cardholder, shows how quick and easy it is to get around the borough by foot and will be available at libraries, council buildings and public events from the end of May.

For more information about walking to school in Hackney please contact School Travel Plan Advisor Georgie Burchell on 020 8356 8469 or email:

To find out more about the Council’s taster walks contact Hackney Leisure and Physical Activity Team on 020 8356 4897 or email: