Kirklees Council steps up to the challenge: Council recognised for its commitment to walking

[caption id="attachment_3425" align="alignleft" width="412"] Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive of Kirklees Council, Cllr Musarrat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, and Deborah Lucas, Head of People Services, are presented with the CityConnect Walk Friendly Workplace by John Kilner of Living Streets.[/caption]

Kirklees Council is the latest employer to be recognised as a Walk Friendly Workplace 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 UK walking charity Living Streets, 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.

With support from the CityConnect team, Kirklees Council has hosted staff events offering expert advice to employees about how walking can benefit their health and wellbeing, and produced maps with walking routes between council offices in Huddersfield and Dewsbury to inspire staff to travel on foot.

Jacqui Gedman, Chief Executive of Kirklees Council, said: “We know encouraging more people to travel on foot has a big role to play in making Kirklees a great place to live, work and play.

“Our work with CityConnect as a Walk Friendly Workplace is just one of the ways the council is leading by example when it comes to getting more of us walking as part of our daily commute, for work related journeys and leisure.”

Kirklees Council joins a dozen other Walk Friendly Workplace-accredited organisations across the region, including 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 Wellington Place in Leeds.

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “Walking 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, or during lunch breaks, can also help maintain a happy, health and collaborative workforce, which benefits businesses too.

“It’s great to see Kirklees Council joining the other organisations across our region 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: “It can be difficult to keep active, especially for those of us with busy lives and office jobs. Walking more is an easy way to fit exercise into our day, and has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, depression and Type 2 diabetes.

“We’re thrilled Kirklees Council has joined us and are committed to creating healthier and happier workforces.”

Cllr Musarrat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “I am passionate about improving the physical and mental health of people who live and work in Kirklees. The achievement of the Walk Friendly Workplace is a fantastic way the council has shown its commitment and dedication to supporting its staff to keep active. The work doesn’t stop here – I want to make sure that all people in Kirklees are able to participate in the walking opportunities which are available throughout the district.”

Find out how the CityConnect team can help your organisation be more walk friendly.