Pupils across Calderdale have been walking, wheeling, cycling and scooting their way to winning new equipment for their schools.
In partnership with Active Calderdale, primary schools across the borough have been taking part in the Big Walk and Wheel challenge, an annual event organised by Sustrans, the UK charity dedicated to enabling people to walk and wheel more.
During the two-week challenge, students and their families were encouraged to actively travel to school rather than using a vehicle. All forms of self-propelled transport counted, including walking, wheelchair use, cycling and scooting, with participating schools logging a daily count of the number of students who travelled actively each day. The journeys were logged as a percentage so that all schools, no matter the size, had a balanced result.
As an extra incentive, Active Calderdale ran the event as a borough-wide competition, with schools competing to see who could log the most active journeys. Local business WJ Roadmarkings Ltd of Elland agreed to gift a £1000 playground makeover to the winning Calderdale school and Active Calderdale provided four runners-up prizes of £250 to be spent on active equipment for the schools.
The winning school was New Road Primary School in Sowerby Bridge, with runners up being Ash Green Community Primary School, Mixenden; St. John’s Primary School, Rishworth; Field Lane Primary School, Rastrick; and Ripponden Junior and Infant School, Ripponden.
All the participating Calderdale schools are part of the Active Schools programme. Schools signed up to the programme focus not only on academic success, but also supporting their students to improve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The programme also supports young people to discover the joy of being active and making activity a part of their life.
Calderdale Council’s Director for Public Health, Debs Harkins, said:
“The Big Walk and Wheel challenge has been a great success and it’s been wonderful to hear the stories of children and young people discovering the joys of being active and building activity into their school day.
“Supporting schools to deliver incentives like this is a key part of our Active Calderdale mission. Developing a positive attitude towards physical activity is really important for children and can help them to feel more motivated, confident and able to be more active throughout their life.”
One pupil has found that participating in the Big Walk and Wheel has changed his whole outlook. Coen Greenwood, a pupil at St John’s CE Primary School in Rishworth has thoroughly enjoyed walking and cycling to school with his dad, Ross. The pair have travelled actively each day and intend to keep it up. Dad, Ross said of Coen:
“Even though he’s only got little legs and it’s a long walk, he seems to have more energy when he gets to school. He’s been absolutely buzzing by the time we reach the playground. Since we’ve been walking and cycling to school, he’s been wanting to do it every day. And it’s not just Coen, I’ve seen loads of kids arriving to school on their scooters, which is great to see.”
Calderdale Council’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services, Julie Jenkins, said:
“Congratulations to New Road Primary for their success in the Big Walk and Wheel challenge. I know that staff and pupils have really got on board with the idea of active travel and it’s great that they’ll soon be able to enjoy the benefits of a new playground as a reward for their efforts.
“I’m delighted that so many of our primary schools have been taking part in the Big Walk and Wheel and it’s even better than many pupils and their families are continuing to use active methods to travel to school despite the challenge ending.”
To find out more about the Active Calderdale mission or for information and inspiration to support a more active lifestyle, visit https://active.calderdale.gov.uk/