By Cara Liddle
National launch of Scottish charity “Living Streets” will take place this morning in Holyrood to celebrate success as government funding has allowed the organisation to open a permanent base in the capital city.
“Living Streets” is a charity campaigns for improvements to public spaces and better streets for people on foot. Using donations to fund research, lobbying, advice, changes to policy and trying to give positive solutions to pedestrians and to encourage people to make the best of the Scottish great outdoors.
The event is being hosted by MSP Alison McInnes where politicians, community activists and other professionals will hear various stories illustrating the importance of safer, cleaner streets. Anne Cairns will also give a speech on how, after suffering from a heart attack she has successfully set up a similar walking group in Stirling for others who are going through cardiac rehabilitation.
Today’s launch is designed to draw attention to the organisation and also to make the public and other bodies aware of their intentions for the near future, beginning with a three point action plan.
Living Streets also hope to help combat the issue of obesity in Scotland with their new plans. Obesity levels have risen dramatically in the past twenty years with the highest levels of overweight, obese and severely obese children found in the most deprived areas of the country.
As the popularity of gaming rapidly increases, actual physical activities outdoors like football and hill walking are becoming less and less attractive to Scotland’s youth. Living Streets hope to combat this attitude by encouraging the population to step outside. However getting people to take that first step is hard, especially when 37% of people living in more deprived areas of Scotland claim to feel unsafe walking in their neighbourhood after dark.
Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive of Living Streets, said:”We firmly believe that by creating safe, attractive streets, we immediately set the scene to encourage people to get walking more. We will be working to make this a reality across Scotland and help close down the big inequalities in health, road safety, congestion and pollution, and create a healthier population.