A Living Streets project led by young D/deaf and disabled people to improve their local streets has won the ‘Excellence in Walking’ award at the annual Modeshift sustainable transport awards.

The Move Makers project worked to tackle young D/deaf and disabled people’s barriers to independent travel, aiming to make active travel the natural choice for students

The award was presented to Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking, which delivered the work on behalf of Schools Go Smarter, the Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme for Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

The Move Makers project encouraged young people, aged 14 – 18, from five specialist schools across Tyne and Wear to lead their own independent travel campaigns in which they identified barriers which stopped them from walking and travelling independently.

The students noted problems such as cracked pavements, a lack of dropped kerbs and short crossing times on their journey to school, issues which are especially problematic for the young people with mobility and visual impairments. The students also explored how they could build more walking and active travel into their day.

The project was celebrated at the Modeshift awards ceremony in Birmingham on Friday 5 November for supporting and encouraging sustainable travel, and showing innovation.

Francesca Di Giorgio, Project Coordinator (North East), Living Streets, said:

Walking to school and during the school day increases the confidence and independence of young people, it also gives them the opportunity to socialise and experience the outside world.

Francesca Di Giorgio, Project Coordinator (North East), Living Streets

We want everyone who can walk to school to have the chance to do so on streets that are fit for walking. Through this project, we heard directly from the young people about the small changes which would make a great impact on their access to the streets.

“Their fantastic travel campaigns have identified barriers to walking which can now be addressed so that more children and young people can travel actively and independently, and start experiencing the benefits that walking brings.”

Congratulations to all the staff and students involved from the five schools: Percy Hedley Upper School (North Tyneside), The Cedars Academy (Gateshead), Percy Hedley College and Northern Counties School (Newcastle), Barbara Priestman Academy (Sunderland) and Epinay Business and Enterprise School (South Tyneside).