At the end of July walking advocates from twelve Walking Action Groups around the country, and from three areas keen to set up their own groups, met to exchange experiences and good ideas, and to learn new skills at the training weekend known as Street Cred.
The thirty five keen walkers had the opportunity to participate in the one day Fundementals of Planning and Design for Walking course, usually run for transport planners and traffic engineers. Tim Hughes from the NZ Transport Agency and Glen Koorey from the University of Canterbury tailored the course to help advocates understand best practice. Groups will be able to use what they learned when they make submissions to councils suggesting ways of creating more walking-friendly communities.
Other sessions included a lively role play featuring two brave advocates fronting up to an intimidating panel consisting of three Street Cred participants (who are actually city councillors in Hamilton, Wellington and Palmerston North in real life!) to demonstrate the do's and don'ts of presenting oral submissions; a session on Activating Members and Groups showing some innovative ideas for reaching out and getting people motivated; and a brief introduction to the new Living Streets website. Perhaps the most useful session was when the groups shared their successes and discussed ways of tackling common issues.
The weekend wasn’t all hard work – there was also time to attend the Golden Foot Awards on the Friday evening, walk the streets at lunchtimes, and even indulge in a spot of belly dancing after dinner!!