West Yorkshire employers step up to the challenge - 12 organisations recognised for their commitment to walking

A dozen employers across the region have been awarded Walk Friendly Workplace accreditation as part of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme aimed at making it easier for people to walk and cycle.

In partnership with Living Streets, the UK walking charity behind National Walking Month which takes place each May, the CityConnect team works with employers to help them encourage staff to commute on foot and build more walking into their working day.

From workplace challenges to led walks, walking maps and even on site improvements - Walk Friendly Workplaces strive to make travelling on foot an easy and convenient option, support staff to be more active, and have someone championing walking and its benefits.

To date, Walk Friendly Workplace-accredited organisations include Npower, Calderdale College, Leeds City Council, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, Thorpe Park, Wakefield College, four of the region’s universities (Bradford, Leeds, Leeds Beckett and Leeds Trinity) and, most recently, Wellington Place in Leeds.

[caption id="attachment_3288" align="alignnone" width="400"] Staff at Wellington Place make the most of the sunshine with a lunchtime walk.[/caption]

Emily Ingham, Travel Plan Coordinator for Wellington Place, said: “We are delighted to be an accredited Walk Friendly Workplace. This recognises our culture of encouraging and enabling staff to travel more sustainably and our work to make the site a pedestrian-friendly environment.

“We put people first and know that being active is a key way of improving workplace wellbeing. During May we’ve worked with CityConnect to provide guided lunchtime walks, as well as drop-in advice sessions. We are also setting up a lunchtime walking group and CityConnect will help us train our volunteer walk leaders.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Walking brings many benefits - it can help reduce the risk of preventable diseases, inspire creativity, and reduce stress, as well as reducing travel costs and improving air quality.

“Encouraging more people to walk all or part of their commute can also help maintain a happy, health and collaborative workforce, which benefits businesses too.

“It’s great to see so many organisations across our region are recognising this and doing their bit to encourage more of us to build walking into our daily lives.”

Jenny Wiles, Living Streets Director (North), said: “Getting a walk in as part of your journey to or from work, or even at lunchtime, is an easy, free and accessible way to build more activity into your day. It also reduces congestion and pollution on local West Yorkshire roads – making the environment more pleasant for everyone.

“It’s great to see the employers we’ve been working with around West Yorkshire taking this message on board and promoting healthy everyday travelling to their staff.”

Visit our CityConnect Walking page for more information about how the team can help your organisation be more walk friendly.