Merton Council Neighbourhood Fund has awarded Living Streets, a national walking charity, with funding to develop a unique project that brings colour and design into the street environment around 3 schools during the summer this year.
Cranmer, SS Peter & Paul and Bond Primary all look out onto dangerous roads with heavy traffic. It has been shown in other countries that such colourful murals cause drivers to behave more cautiously and should help them have a greater awareness of the presence of children on foot or cycling nearby.
At the same time, the murals will be carefully designed with the help of a local artist Jo Sharpe, using nature and the local environment as a reference.
School children will learn about safe routes to school, the benefits to the environment and their own health by walking and cycling. Residents and families will be invited to take part in design workshops between May and July to help shape the mural design and once the design is ready, to help paint it on the road while the road is closed for a day in August.
The mural painting will be complemented by Living Streets’ WOW Walk To School programme which rewards children who walk and cycle to school each week with a monthly badge. It’s a fun scheme that schools appreciate, and children love. WOW has been shown to successfully reduce levels of traffic around schools which improves air quality and with less children being driven to school, makes life easier for residents. So it's a win-win all round.