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Children across the UK get ready to WOW

Everyday walking charity Living Streets tells us about their annual art competition

Posted by Stephanie Broad | July 26, 2016 | School life

Each year, a new set of WOW badges is designed by children in one of the UK’s largest art competitions run by Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking. Kevin Croasdale, Schools Manager at Living Streets, tells us more.

This year, over 100,000 children entered our WOW badge design competition with the hopes of seeing their entries transformed into badges, which go on to be earned by pupils who take part in WOW. WOW – our year-round walk to school challenge - sees pupils who walk to school at least once a week rewarded with these collectable badges for each month of the school year.

Walking to school is an easy and free way for children to get active and stay healthy. Teachers confirm that pupils who walk to school are more alert, ready to learn and achieve better grades than those who are driven. The more children walking also means fewer cars, fewer traffic jams, less pollution and less ‘aggro’ around the school gates. In primary schools, WOW sees walking rates increase by 23% on average and is met with a 30% drop in car use.

This year’s entries were whittled down to eleven winners. Their designs have been digitally recreated and made into more than 500,000 badges using recycled yoghurt pot material, ready for the 2016/17 academic year.   

The badges were designed on the theme of ‘Our Neighbourhood’ and we were looking for designs that represented children’s local neighbourhoods and what makes them special. We received some fantastic drawings from 340 schools across the UK with every entry reflecting the creativity and passion shown by the children for their local area.

The winners have been awarded exclusive WOW goodie bags, along with a trophy, a certificate and a plaque showing their winning design to be displayed in their school. Their schools will also receive free WOW resources for the 16/17 academic year to allow them to continue taking part and encouraging pupils to walk to school.

The standard of entries this year was extremely high, making it very difficult to narrow it down to eleven. We received fantastic drawings ranging from local landmarks to hidden treasures and neighbourhood heroes. The winners should be very proud and we look forward to having their respective schools on board with WOW this year. We’re sure it will continue to make a huge difference to their pupils’ health and happiness.

The first badge for the academic year comes from Sam in Moray, Scotland. Sam’s badge represents the Scottish coastline and the communities and wildlife that make it their home.

Sam was joined by classmates from Kinloss School and his local councillor and MSP at Findhorn beach, the spot that inspired the drawing, to celebrate his success last month.

Lorenzo from Sunderland used the ‘Our Neighbourhood’ theme to celebrate his city’s local heritage by depicting the mining industry in his design which will become the badge for October. Local heroes are recognised with November and February’s badges being fronted by a lollipop person and emergency service workers respectively. Local parks, high streets, rural living and historic markets are also all represented, along with iconic landmarks, including the Shard in London and the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol.

Our walk to school campaign has been going for over 20 years and supports over one million children in 4000 schools to walk more through WOW and Walk to School Week, making it one of the UK’s leading behaviour change campaigns for young people.

WOW is having a big impact, delivering strong results from small investments. Schools love taking part and pupils love walking and winning badges. After one year pupils have formed new habits for life, setting them up to be healthy and happy adults.

To find out more about getting involved with WOW, visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/walktoschool or call the team on 020 7456 9793.

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