This week schools around Bristol have marked ‘Walk to School Week’ with a series of street parties.
Organised by the Living Streets charity, schools across the city held street parties to highlight the issue of traffic congestion during busy periods outside schools, as well as encourage more children and parents to take a healthy approach by walking.
Perry Court E-Act Academy in Hengrove had the honour of starting the week of celebrations with their street party on Great Hayles Road. It was attended by over 250 pupils, parents and teachers, with activities including a treasure hunt, painting and dancing. There was also a special visit from Strider, the Living Streets official mascot.
Councillor Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Walk to School Week is an important initiative which encourages more children and parents to take a healthy approach by walking to school. It also highlights the issue of traffic congestion outside schools during drop off and pick up periods. The week supports our long-running ‘Show You Care, Park Elsewhere’ initiative, which is currently trialling ‘Parking Buddies’ to stop people from parking inappropriately and creating dangers for pedestrians.”
The parties were organised by the schools with support from Living Streets. Each school has applied for a Street Party Road Closure Order. All local residents were given letters by the school and notices have been put up on lampposts as required.
Shirehampton Primary School held their street party on Tuesday. The morning was split into three sessions for different year groups. The children lined the streets for a catwalk with Strider where children could show off their Happy Shoes. There was also a treasure hunt, chalking on the pavements, hula hopping, arts and crafts and a penalty shootout with the local PCSOs.
There were also street parties held at Redfield Educate Together, Little Mead Primary Academy in Southmead and Summerhill Academy in St George.
The ‘Parking Buddies’ scheme is a tool offered to schools as part of the long-running ‘Show You Care Park Elsewhere’ initiative, which aims to persuade parents who drive to park away from school or walk, cycle or take public transport. Signs have been provided to 11 schools so far to help stop drivers parking inappropriately and creating dangers for pedestrians. A further 11 schools have also expressed their interest in the scheme.
In addition to ‘Walk to School Week’, Bristol City Council is also supporting Travel West’s summer campaign, ‘Get out and walk’, which aims to encourage people to beat the rush and avoid traffic jams by walking or cycling. Visit https://travelwest.info/walk for more information.
Bristol Walk Fest 2019 is taking place throughout May and is a celebration of walking, with an expected 3,000 people taking part across the city. Visit https://www.bristolwalkfest.com/ for more information.
Jess Binnie, Active Travel Champion and class teacher at Perry Court E-Act Academy, said: “It was fab to see so many parents and children coming together to launch our 'Walk to School Week' with our street party in the sunshine. The children really enjoyed the activities and were buzzing to be able to walk, scoot, run and dance around the street without having to worry about traffic and pollution. There was definitely much more active travel recorded that day and hopefully more as we go into the rest of the summer term. A massive thank you to the local residents for putting up with the closure and to the 'Living Streets' charity for helping us to organise it.”