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Multimillion pound investment to inspire children to walk to School

THE Transport Minister, Chris Heaton Harris, announced, on Friday, 21 May 2021, that the green initiative aimed at encouraging hundreds of thousands of children to walk to School has received ₤2.1m in Government support. The funding will help walking charity Living Streets extend its Walk to School Outreach programme to more than 1,000 Primary Schools across the country.

The initiative, which has been backed by Department for Transport (DfT) support since 2017, aims to promote the health and environmental benefits of walking to School for children aged:- 5 to 11, and their families. It plays an integral role in the Government's ambition to ensure more than ˝ of children aged:- 5 to 10 are walking to School by 2025.

The funding announced comes during Walk to School Week and is part of the DfT's drive to enable more forms of active travel as the Government builds back greener from the Pandemic. It builds on the ₤1m funding the Department provided to Living Streets in 2020/21 to deliver a Walk Back to School programme for the academic year, extending the charity's reach to support children returning to School last Autumn.

Cycling and Walking Minister Chris Heaton Harris said:- "Walking can improve our health, ease traffic and help clean up our environment, so we're proud to be investing in Living Streets' vital campaign to get more children walking to School. This initiative has already inspired thousands of youngsters and their families to adopt greener active travel habits that will last a lifetime and I'm delighted that this funding will help enable thousands more."

Mary Creagh, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:- "It's vital that we scale up for walking to build back better for children and families after a difficult year. Living Streets' walk to School programme is increasing the number of children walking to School and reducing cars, congestion and air pollution around School gates. This funding will help more pupils enjoy the fresh air, freedom and fun that walking to School brings."

The Walk to School Outreach programme has been very successful in recent years and in 2019 to 2020 it saw walking to School rates increase by 40% for new Schools that took part, with increased walking rates sustained for existing project Schools.

The funding will helped Living Streets celebrate Walk to School Week by supporting the distribution of challenge packs to Schools across the country to get involved.

It comes as the latest of a raft of measures announced by the Government to enable more people to help the environment by making more use of active travel options.

In Summer 2020 the Prime Minister launched ambitious plans to boost walking and cycling, with a vision that ˝ of all journeys in Towns and cities are walked or cycled by 2030. This includes a ₤2bn package of funding for active travel over 5 years; the largest amount of funding ever committed to increasing walking and cycling in this country.

The 1st ₤250m of the ₤2bn was allocated in 20/21 on programmes including the:- "Fix Your Bike" voucher and the Active Travel Fund scheme, as the Government has strongly encouraged Local Authorities to prioritise support for active travel during the Pandemic.

A further ₤257m of walking and cycling funding for 1021/22 was announced at the Spending Review, back in November 2020.

₤200M investment in rehab services to cut crime

CHARITIES and companies which help rehabilitate offenders have been awarded around ₤200 million of Government funding to help cut crime in the new probation system. The investment of an initial ₤195 million has been awarded to 26 organisations across England and Wales to provide vital support services that help reduce reoffending, such as employment and housing advice. This includes over ₤45 million awarded to services tailored to female offenders to address their specific needs and the underlying causes of their crimes, as part of the Government's pledge to see fewer women go to prison. The total funding awarded could rise to ₤270 million if contracts with these organisations are extended to their full terms.

By tackling the drivers of crime and getting offenders' lives back on track, these services will help to prevent thousands of people becoming victims each year and save some of the ₤18 billion annual cost of repeat offending. The move is 1 of the improvements being made to the Probation Service next month as responsibility for supervising low and medium risk offenders comes back under public sector control. The delivery of unpaid work in community sentences and behavioural change programmes are also being brought back in house.

Prisons and Probation Minister Alex Chalk said:- "Tackling things like homelessness, unemployment and illiteracy is vital to our drive to cut crime, but these issues cannot be solved by our brilliant probation staff alone. The expertise and support of charities and companies like those we are funding today plays a crucial role in helping offenders to rehabilitate and lead a crime- free life."

Almost ₤46 million has been awarded to charities which provide wraparound support to women in the criminal justice system, acknowledging the complex array of issues female offenders particularly face. Organisations including:- The Nelson Trust, Women in Prison, and a partnership between the St Giles Trust and the Wise Group will work with vulnerable women to help them get their lives back on track. This significant investment provides long term support to women's centres and other dedicated services for women serving community sentences or leaving prison.

Prison leavers are around 50% more likely to reoffend if released with nowhere to stay so over ₤33 million will be shared by charities helping the homeless, including:- St Mungo's, Shelter and NACRO. Their work will help get offenders off the streets into stable accommodation and work alongside the Probation Service's new temporary accommodation service.

A further ₤33 million has been awarded to companies such as:- Seetec, Maximus and Ingeus, which provide offenders with skills training and employment support. With their expertise in helping people find work they will partner with probation staff and the New Futures  Network in the Prison Service, to support offenders into jobs.

Up to ₤118 million has been awarded to organisations which work with offenders to address personal issues, including:- Catch 22, The Forward Trust and The Growth Company. This ranges from support accessing mental health services to help with managing complex family relationships.

The funding has been awarded through a new process designed to make it easier for charities and other 3rd sector organisations to access funding from Government and around
of the funding has been awarded to registered charities. In addition, many lead organisations are using the specialist skills of smaller organisations to help deliver services, with another 50 organisations, mostly in the voluntary sector, in their supply chains.

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