Schools Take Active Travel Challenge in their Stride
A South Tyneside school is celebrating after being announced as the winner of an active travel challenge as the Borough's marks Clean Air Day today (Thursday 16 June).
Stanhope Primary School, in South Shields, came first place in the #STActiveTravelChallenge - a competition encouraging schoolchildren, parents and staff to ditch the car in favour of walking, cycling or scooting to school.
Cllr Adam Ellison joins Stanhope Primary School children as they celebrate coming first place in the #STActiveTravelChallenge.
The social media challenge, launched by South Tyneside Council to run throughout May, aimed to promote the benefits of active travel, help to reduce carbon emissions and boost health and wellbeing.
Schools were invited to share how they were taking part in the challenge, with the winner selected for the most engaging and innovative social media posts and using the hashtag #stactivetravelchallenge.
Stanhope youngsters and staff were chosen for the top spot due to their numerous entertaining posts demonstrating a variety of active travel modes and showcasing them as a fun and desirable way of getting to, and from, school.
Most importantly, they put mental health, nature and the environment at the forefront of their posts, highlighting the nature that can be found on the school run and the importance of protecting the environment.
Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families at South Tyneside Council, said: "While air pollution is largely invisible to us, it affects us all and can have a significant impact on our health and the health of our children.
"Making sustainable travel choices, whether that be on walking, cycling or scooting, can make journeys to school, or work, much more enjoyable. It can also have a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing. With many car journeys less than five miles, there's real potential for people to ditch the car, if they can.
"Active travel also supports young people to develop their road safety skills, while tackling congestion and improving air quality around schools.
"Clean Air Day gives us all a chance to learn more about air pollution, share information and take action to make the air cleaners and healthier for everyone. We are delighted to take this opportunity to reveal the winners of our #STActiveTravelChallenge. Well done to all those involved."
Stanhope has been awarded a £2,000 prize to be spent on future active travel initiatives, with runners-up awarded prizes of £750, £500 and £250.
In second place was St Oswald's CofE VA School in Hebburn, followed by Keelman's Way School in third place. Valley View and Hedworthfield primary schools, both in Jarrow, in were jointly awarded fourth place.
Faye Rogers, of Stanhope Primary School, said: "We're thrilled to win the challenge. Sustainable travel is something we are very keen to promote in our school community.
"We usually run a Walk to School initiative week in May and decided to build on this when we learned about the #STActiveTravelChallenge.
"We wanted to make it as interesting and engaging as possible and asked our pupils how they travelled to school and what they saw along the way over the month. It really took off and the children thoroughly enjoyed it."
The winner is announced on Clean Air Day - the UK's largest air pollution campaign, coordinated by charity Global Action Plan. The annual campaign sees schools, workplaces and communities around the UK raise awareness of air pollution and the actions that can be taken to tackle the issue.
Supporting Clean Air Day and the #STActiveTravelChallenge is just one of the ways the Council is helping to improve air quality while delivering on its community priority of investing in the natural and built environment.
This includes implementing major transport schemes to improve traffic flows and reduce emissions, installing a growing network of electric vehicle charging points, introducing electric vehicles to the fleet and operating a cycle to work scheme for staff.
To help promote active travel and its benefits, the Council commissioned the 'Give Yourself a Lift' film last year in a bid to urge more young people to talk, cycle and taking the bus to school.
The film can help parents to make informed choices about school travel and can be viewed on the Council's YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/SouthTynesideCouncil
For further information about Clean Air Day visit www.actionforcleanair.org.uk