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East End kids cycling to school scoop top transport award

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 March 2010 | UPDATED: 15:40 05 October 2010

A PROJECT to encourage more children to cycle to school in London’s East End has picked up a top transport award.

Sustrans charity’s Bike It project in 21 schools won the best cycling improvements’ title at the London Transport awards on March 4

By Mike Brooke

A PROJECT to encourage more children to cycle to school in London's East End has picked up a top transport award.

Sustrans charity's Bike It project in 21 Tower Hamlets schools won the 'best cycling improvements' title at the London Transport awards on Thursday (March 4).

The number of children regularly cycling to school in the East End has gone up almost five-fold, from three per cent to almost 14 per cent, since it began two years ago.

"We are helping children have greater independence," the charity's London director Carl Pittam explained. "They start their day in an active way which hopefully sets them up with a healthy habit for life."

The project involving classroom sessions and cycle training was launched to tackle a growing child obesity crisis. One-in-five youngsters in London aged 10 and 11 are overweight.

The Bike It programme using cycling to help tackle the obesity is backed by NHS Tower Hamlets, the local authority and cash from Transport for London, aimed at getting more kids out of mum's car and on two wheels.

NHS Tower Hamlets chief Alwen Williams said: "Children in the East End participate in less sport or other physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day than the national average."

The Sustrans charity is also working on a new network of 'walking and cycling' routes around the Regent's Canal, Mile End Park and Stepney's Ocean Estate to keep the momentum going.


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