14
May
2014
|
00:00
Europe/London

‘Walkshire’ adventure encourages healthy ways to travel to school and cut congestion


Primary schools in Leeds are taking part in an exciting new walking adventure designed to encourage healthy, congestion-busting ways of travelling to school.



The new web-based scheme, called ‘Walkshire’ encourages pupils to walk, scoot and cycle their way to school as part of a fun and interactive online challenge.



The scheme has been developed by the five West Yorkshire councils (Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield) in partnership with the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (Metro) who also host the website, www.generationm.co.uk



The aim of the challenge is to help two characters called ‘Footlings’ on their quest to save an imaginary place, Walkshire, from a dragon called Fumes whilst learning facts and collecting coins along the way. The challenge lasts for 6 weeks and schools record how many pupils walk, scoot or cycle to school every week. Pupil journeys are then converted to Walkshire miles. To complete the challenge schools need to increase the number of pupils walking, cycling or scooting to school by 10%.



‘Walkshire’ will be launched during national Walk to School Week, which takes place between 19 and 23 May 2014. A special event is taking place on 22 May 2014 at SS Peter and Paul School in Yeadon – the school piloted the initiative. Children will walk to school accompanied by a Walkshire character. They will then be treated to an interactive play all about the Walkshire story delivered by Histrionics, Theatre Company.



Media opportunity

When: Thursday 22 May at 8.30am

Where: Parents and pupils will meet at Argos car park Unit 1, West Side Retail Park, Guiseley, West Yorkshire LS20 9NE and walk to SS Peter and Pauls Catholic Primary School, Crofters Lea, Yeadon, LS19 7HW (duration: 10 minutes). They will be accompanied by a Walkshire Character in costume, a road safety trainer and staff from Leeds City Council’s Influencing Travel Behaviour Team.

Photographs will be made available after the event.




Diane Todd, head teacher at Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, Yeadon, said:
“The children were very motivated by the idea of Walkshire and the magical land and characters that exist there. The children also enjoyed learning about the different places along the route and loved the medieval names for familiar places. They made a really big effort to walk to school so that they could save the Footlings from the dragon. Our school is always very keen to support initiatives like Walkshire which are a fun way to promote walking, cycling and scooting to school.”



Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services, said:“Initiatives like Walkshire are a great way to capture children’s imagination and encourage them to lead healthier more active lifestyles by walking to school. It is also a great opportunity to teach children vital road safety skills and ensure they are alert and ready to learn at the start of the day.”



Councillor Richard Lewis, executive board member with responsibility for development and the economy, said:“It’s great to see so many Leeds schools promoting car-free ways to travel to school. Encouraging children to walk to school helps them keep healthy as well as helping to reduce traffic on our roads and avoid congestion outside our school gates.”

Walkshire is one of a number of initiatives being promoted to schools as part of the Leeds School Active Travel Project in the lead up to Le Grand Départ.



Ends

For media enquiries, please contact;

Laura Ferris, Leeds City Council communications team (0113) 247 5472

Email: laura.ferris@leeds.gov.uk