Walk to school idea for pupils is safe

Merton will create safe haven routes to and from schools

Merton Council is set to launch a pilot project to encourage more children to walk to school.

The Safe Haven project will see a system of marked routes leading to three Mitcham schools set up, with local businesses and shops along the route acting as havens. Children who are feeling threatened or frightened can stop at the havens for support and help.

The idea of the project, involving pupils from Bond, Liberty and St Marks schools, is to get more children walking to and from school by improving the image of walking as a safe way to travel without the risk of, so called, stranger danger and bullying.

Following a series of surveys, the most popular routes used by pupils to get to the schools have been identified as have key areas or paths that parents and children feel may be unsafe or in need of improvement.

Staff of businesses and shops that will become havens will be police checked and each will have a Haven logo on display so children know where to go if they need help.

The logo itself has been selected from designs submitted by pupils and a prize will be presented to the winner at the launch of the scheme at 9am on Friday 12 April at Bond Primary School.

Alison Broom, Head of Street Management, said: “This is a really exciting project that we hope will help children to feel safe getting to and from school and help put parents’ minds at ease also. If the pilot is successful, we will bid for more funding to extend the scheme into the future.

“Although the scheme is primarily for school children, other vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly, will be able to use it as well.”