A pilot project to enable more children to walk, scoot or cycle to school is being rolled out across Kettering.
Brightkidz – a Kettering-based social enterprise which promotes active travel and road safety – has been piloting its ST:EPS project at Grange Primary School in Kettering since last September.
Following the success of the project within the school, more Kettering schools have now signed up to ST:EPS (which stands for Safer Travel: Enabling Primary Schools) – and even more are being targeted locally this academic year.
Brightkidz founder, Alison Holland said: “There is a big focus from central government on promoting active and sustainable travel for children. Schools are being encouraged to get their pupils to walk, scoot, or cycle, and to help them to feel safe when they’re out and about on the roads, but teachers often don’t know what resources are available to make that happen. With the county council issues in Northamptonshire, it’s a real problem.”
Alison passionately explains that ST:EPS is about connecting schools to free resources, such as the Department of Transport’s national accreditation scheme, Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accredited and Recognised), and helping them to access alternative funding opportunities and build partnerships with local businesses who could sponsor training days or equipment.
“The project is about offering support and advice to schools to help them fill in the funding gaps, and for Brightkidz to run fun and engaging activity sessions with children, which are tailored to their needs and those of the local community,” added Alison. “Some of our work with Grange Primary was supported by a community grant and local will writer, Angela Jane Will Writing & Estate Planning, who paid for each pupil to have a fun cycle safety item. There is lots more planned to develop the ST:EPS project at the school too, including a scooter training day with the whole school and helping the school take part a national initiative by Sustrans charity, The Big Pedal. We hope to replicate the approach in other local schools before launching it further afield, across the UK in the future.”
CASE STUDY: Grange Primary School – helping towards long-term healthy living goals
The ST:EPS project at Grange Primary is ongoing and tailored to the school’s specific needs. A whole-school assembly for pupils to understand the benefits of walking, scooting or cycling to school, and workshops with Key Stage Two groups are among the child-focused activities which have been provided by Brightkidz so far. Further support towards the school’s Modeshift STARS accreditation and a scooter training day is already planned for 2019.
Talking about how Brightkidz’ work is contributing towards Grange Primary School’s wellbeing and healthy living targets, Deputy Head, Lydia Meek, said: “As a school we think it’s really important that children learn about road safety, and that they are encouraged to be more active so that when they grow up, they continue these healthy behaviours.
“We initially approached Brightkidz because we wanted to develop our existing Road Safety Heroes project with much more direction, so that active travel and healthy living became truly embedded in our curriculum. Brightkidz made us aware of alternative funding opportunities and recommended we aim for national accreditation too – something we had not previously heard about through our local council. They have also helped us tighten our processes to develop a clearer school travel policy, which is easier to communicate with parents and the local community. Thanks to their support, we are now looking at some really unique ideas going forward, like the planned Scoot Fit session, which we are confident will help us achieve our longer-term healthy living goals.”
CASE STUDY: Angela Jane Will Writing & Estate Planning – a business putting back into the community
Angela Stokes, Angela Jane Will Writing & Estate Planning supported one of the early sessions at Grange Primary School, by funding cycle safety accessories for each pupil. She said: “I live in Kettering and each year I like to fund a community project which makes a real difference to the local area. I had met the director of Brightkidz through a networking group and was impressed with the organisation’s whole ethos. What Brightkidz is trying to do to promote active travel and a healthy lifestyle to children is really important, so when I was looking for a local worthwhile cause to support, the ST:EPS project at Grange Primary was something I felt very passionate about. I am delighted that my contribution helped make the sessions even more engaging for the pupils. These children are our future and I hope my support helps towards them living a healthier lifestyle in the future.”