Children across Calderdale have come up with ideas to reduce congestion around their schools and to travel to school in ways that help them be more active and get there safely.
This was part of a competition run by Calderdale Council to engage young people in promoting the benefits of walking and cycling, healthy living and sustainable travel in their schools and communities.
Research shows that being active can help increase young people’s confidence, connect with others and make friends, as well as perform better academically.
Pupils from 14 Calderdale primary schools held campaigns within their communities in an inter-school competition. After a difficult decision by the judges, the winner of the SAFE (Sustainable, Active, Fun, Environmental) Travel Cup was Warley Town School, whose campaign was called ‘Fight for fresh air’. Their pitch included acting, singing and rapping, and was about travelling to school in healthier and safer ways, such as walking or cycling.
Seven schools were shortlisted as finalists and presented their campaigns with support from The Riot Act theatre group at a Dragons’ Den style event at the Square Chapel, Halifax, on Wednesday 15 June. The judges were Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher; Head of Learning Services, Jackie Nellis; and Schools Account Manager, Michael Holgate.
Data is being collated to monitor how the children travel to school before, during and after the campaigns to measure if they have made a difference. The aim is also to reduce the amount of traffic around schools.
Cllr Faisal Shoukat, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Inequalities, said:
“Children deserve to get to and from school safely and we can all do our bit to help them do it in a way which keeps them active, whether that’s complying with speed limits or encouraging walking and cycling. The top reasons for children not walking or cycling to school are that roads are unsafe or too busy.
“We’re encouraging everyone to talk about safe and active travel and see if it’s time to do things differently. Join the chat and tell us how you feel about congestion around schools and children walking, cycling or using scooters.”
Join the chat on Twitter @Calderdale using the hashtag #IsItTime. People can also like the Love Our Streets Facebook page to find out more about 20mph streets across Calderdale.
Cllr Megan Swift, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, added:
“All of the children involved in the competition have worked incredibly hard to help tackle important issues, and they’ve done a great job. Our aim is for children to start healthy and stay healthy, and part of that is increasing the number of young people in Calderdale who use healthy travel options which help to improve their physical wellbeing.”