The other day Becky from Lakes Single Mum told me about the living streets Great British Walking challenge, for the month of May 2012 Living Streets is encouraging people to get walking!
I think this is a fantastic opportunity to encourage people to get out and think about their communities, Living Streets is the national charity that stands up for pedestrians helping to create safe attractive enjoyable streets where people want to walk. Join in by visiting their website, where you can log how much you have walked, join in fun challenges and campaign to improve your streets.
Walking is a really beneficial thing to do but more and more people these days jump into their cars for even the shortest distances, and because of this community spirit is low, lets face it, you don't interact with nearly as many people when you are in a car, and where the community spirit is low the streets aren't cared for, where the streets look drab and unloved there is less incentive to walk, so everyone jumps into their cars and in doing so they miss out on the little bits of beauty that are everywhere.
I don't drive myself so walking is pretty much my main form of transport, I genuinely don't mind walking even long distances, I actually really enjoy a long walk, no matter what the weather! It allows time to collect my thoughts and spend some me time away from it all. However I have no love for the streets that surround me, they are indeed unloved and everything looks somewhat tatty dull and drab. I therefore much prefer to take walks in the countryside, often ignoring the streets and aiming to the open spaces of greenery that are hidden behind the buildings and concrete.
But today on the 30 minute walk back from the local town along the main streets, I decided to think above the crumbly walls, and dirty gutters and I noticed that infact the streets aren't all that bad, sure they could be better, but if people don't appreciate them and get out walking then no one will ever care enough to improve them.
So for the month of May I will be joining in the Living Streets Walking challenge, logging my walking and thinking a little more about the streets. Taking a minute to appreciate how being outside in the fresh air can bring joy, even in the streets.
The one journey that we all as parents can try to improve is the school run, we always walk to and from school, but there are plenty of people who don't. I walk past several people in the morning who are getting into their cars as we pass to pull up at the same time as us at the school gates. The 15 minute walk to school may be 15 minutes longer to finish breakfast or ensure teeth are brushed, but to start the day with a walk to school has to be equally as beneficial. Ok it may be fraught with 'hurry up Mikey' and me pushing him ahead, but a brisk walk to school can really help to wake up the children so they are ready for the school day, and the walk home is always a lovely way to make sure you have that time to ask how their day was.
Can you make the change and walk more in May, help encourage people to appreciate the streets? Join in the Great British Walking Challenge and you may just find out you enjoy it!