Mark Drakeford MS joined school pupils from his Cardiff West constituency this morning (Monday 16 May) to mark the beginning of Living Streets’ Walk to School Week (16-20 May).
The First Minister met children, families and staff from Trelai Primary School in Ely as they walked to school and told him how they benefit from keeping active.
Living Streets’ Walk to School Week takes place 16-20 May 2022 and encourages families from across the UK to walk or wheel to school.
Mark Drakeford met Living Streets’ CEO Stephen Edwards (and walking mascot Strider) and the Active Travel Schools team at Cardiff Council to walk to school with pupils.
Mark Drakeford, First Minister and Member of the Senedd for Cardiff West said:
“It was a real pleasure to start the day by walking to school with some of the pupils from Trelai Primary School today and to talk to them about how much they enjoy their walk to and from school every day.
“It’s great to see how schools like Trelai, with help from the council, have created an active travel plan and a safe route to school for children and their parents – walking and cycling to school is good for our health and it's good for our local environment. As we celebrate Walk to School Week, I hope this inspires other families to leave the car at home and walk to school.”
Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:
“We’re so pleased that the First Minister could celebrate Walk to School Week with us – and for us to learn how much pupils from Trelai Primary School enjoy their walk to school.
“Walking to school helps children to meet the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day needed to stay fit, healthy and happy. It's fantastic to see how much the school and pupils are benefitting from walking to school. I hope today’s visit will inspire more pupils and schools across Wales to give walking to school a go.”
Walking and cycling to school is good for our health and it's good for our local environment. As we celebrate Walk to School Week, I hope this inspires other families to leave the car at home and walk to school.
Trelai Primary School joined WOW – the walk to school challenge from Living Streets – in September 2021 with funding from the Active Travel Schools Team at Cardiff Council. Since then, the school has seen an increase in families choosing to travel actively to school by either walking, wheeling, cycling, scooting or using the Park and Stride scheme. Only 24 per cent of pupils are currently driven to school.
Trelai Primary School Headteacher, Mrs Carolyn Mason, said:
“We have been delighted at the support we have received from Cardiff Council to help us support children to safely, actively travel to school. The provision of a bike fleet, scooters and tricycles have enhanced the opportunities for children to develop lifelong skills as well as promoting health and wellbeing.
“The children all love coming to school using the bike shelter and a new safe pathway means there is easy access in and out of our school site for everyone. Our parents have shown great support for the scheme, reinforcing the message that walking to school is a positive and responsible thing to do whatever the weather!”
The Active Travel Schools Team from Cardiff Council have worked with the school to put together an Active Travel Plan. The team have provided the school with bike and scooter storage with funding from Welsh Government, and also provided a fleet of bikes and tricycles for the school to use throughout the day. The school was concerned with the lack of pavement between Trelai Primary School and Cardiff West High School, so the team ensured a safe path was created between the schools for older pupils collecting their younger siblings on foot.
A spokesperson from Cardiff Council said:
“Cardiff is committed on delivering its One Planet Strategy which sets out our aim to becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030. As part of this vision, ambitious plans have been set out to transform active travel and public transport in the city with the aim of reducing congestion, improving air quality and combating the ongoing problems of climate change.
“Walking, scooting or cycling to school not only improves air quality and reduces the number of cars on our roads, but also improves the health and wellbeing of our children and their families. The WOW Travel Tracker provides children with an incentive and help promote the long-term benefits associated with active travel, supporting Cardiff’s Active Travel to Schools programme.”
Trelai Primary students have recorded 19,436 active travel trips on the WOW Travel Tracker since they started on 3 September 2021. Active travel at the school has increased from 55% to 75%, with nearly 50% of school trips being made on foot or wheels in that time. The school is one of 47 running the WOW programme in Cardiff.