The new you can walk, cycle or scoot back to school this spring!

To support the full reopening of schools, and with spring well on its way, BCP Council is stepping up its campaign to get more parents, carers and young people to walk, cycle or scoot to the school gates.

Last year and focusing on the concept of the new you after lockdown, the council launched a dedicated active journey to school initiative. This sought to build on the positive behaviours seen during the pandemic and remind people who have enjoyed exploring their local area to continue to be more active, spend quality time with their children and embrace a slower pace of life on the way to school.

As part of this campaign and to encourage an increased uptake of cycling, funded through a government grant a Sustrans Bike-It Plus Officer has been appointed to work initially with twelve local schools and engage directly with pupils, parents, and the wider school community. In addition, Dr Bike cycle maintenance and upkeep sessions will be starting this month at Moordown St John’s and Muscliff Primary school, with proposals to extend this offer to more schools in the future.

For those living further afield who need to use buses to get to school, also with government support, the council has commissioned 34 additional bus services. These ensure that sufficient space is available on the main bus network for other passengers including key workers. Parents are advised that face coverings remain mandatory on public and dedicated school transport for over 11’s unless exempt. If it is essential to travel by car, people are also encouraged to consider parking and striding. This involves leaving the car further away from school and walking for at least part of the journey.

Councillor Mike Greene, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Sustainability, said:

“With the new year and the reopening of schools and colleges, it’s time for the new you to re-think your traditional journeys and maintain some of the active behaviours that have been so beneficial during lockdown.

“With half of all school journey’s being two miles or less, we encourage everyone who can walk, cycle or scoot to give it a try this spring. The health benefits of regular exercise and fresh air are well known. It can also help your little ones to get their 60 minutes of recommended exercise a day and contributes towards a healthier community for all.”

Planned for later this year, the council will also be coordinating its new you campaign with events to be held later this spring, such as the Sustrans Big Pedal event in April and Living Streets National Walk to School Week in May.

For more information and advice, please visit: bcpcouncil.gov.uk/thenewyou