DID you know that May is National Walking Month? And does the idea of leaving your worries on the doorstep and directing your feet to the sunny side of the street appeal to you? But are you put off by the thought of litter, dog-fouling, cracked pavements and poorly parked vehicles?
A poll conducted last year by YouGov for Living Streets, a charity which champions the rights and interests of pedestrians, found that 39 per cent of adults in the UK would walk more if their local streets were safer and more attractive.
And research carried out by Living Streets itself found that 41 per cent of the public say that pavements free of parked cars would make the biggest positive difference to their everyday life.
Walking is the easiest and cheapest form of exercise and can help us maintain a healthy weight, a healthy heart and a healthy mind (exercise has been shown to be hugely beneficial for people in mental distress).
Furthermore, walking in your local community can provide a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.
However, it seems clear from the research conducted that environmental considerations play an important part in deciding whether to adopt a more pedestrian lifestyle. Certainly, poor maintenance and clutter do not encourage street use by children, older people and those with mobility issues or impaired eyesight.
It doesn’t have to be like that. If you think that the state of your local area leaves room for improvement, then why not volunteer to become a neighbourhood champion? Contact the street scene projects officer on 0127 263047 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Neighbourhood Panel Meeting for Offington ward takes place on Wednesday, May 29, between 10-11am at the Thomas A Becket pub in Rectory Road and, on Friday, May 31, between 3-4pm, PCSO Nicola Burstow (Broadwater) will be holding her local surgery at The Community House at 25 Dominion Road.