Schoolchildren across Torbay are being encouraged by Torbay Council to get active and walk, wheel, skate, scoot and cycle to school as part of the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel (formerly known as the Big Pedal).

Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel, which runs from 21 March to 1 April 2022, is the UK’s largest inter-school walking, wheeling, scooting and cycling challenge that inspires families to be amazing and take active journeys to school.

Last year schoolkids in Torbay recorded over 10,000 active journeys to school and other physical activities as part of the Big Pedal. Shiphay Learning Academy came 29th out of all UK schools taking part, with more than 90% of students walking, scooting, biking, or otherwise actively travelling in the 2021 competition.

Nationally more than 1,500 schools have registered to take part so far this year. Local schools already signed up include Shiphay Learning Academy, Furzeham Primary School, Torre Church of England Academy and Ellacombe Church of England Academy – there’s still time for more schools to register.

Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel is a great way to start building more physical activity in children’s daily routine which is important for their physical health and mental wellbeing. Currently less than half of children in the UK are getting the recommended minimum of 60 minutes physical activity every day.

Active school runs also help to reduce congestion and air pollution outside the school gate. A 2021 YouGov study showed nearly half of UK children worry about air pollution near their school. And that children thought active travel was the best away to bring down these pollution levels.

Replacing car journeys with more people walking, cycling or travelling in more sustainable ways, the more we can reduce our collective carbon footprint and help the environment well as we take ‘steps’ towards our ambition for a carbon neutral Torbay.

Councillor Cordelia Law, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services for Torbay Council, said: “It’s great that so many schools have already signed up to the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel but it would be fantastic if all schools in Torbay could take part.

“I would also ask those who are driving to remain extra vigilant as there will potentially be more children arriving on bikes or scooters. We issued over 1270 tickets last year for people parked on zigzags or double yellow lines outside schools and it’s really important that we keep our children and young people safe.”  

Councillor Jackie Stockman, Cabinet Member for Adults and Public Health for Torbay Council said: “There was a great response last year and we want this year’s event to be even bigger and better than ever. So please get involved if you can.”

You can register for the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel online here

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