Over 70 Essex schools will receive support to create active travel plans and implement further physical activity opportunities for pupils and their families.
Powered by the London Marathon Charitable Trust (LMCT), 31 projects have secured over £100,000 to start, expand and enhance their active travel offer, with a total of 71 schools agreeing to create an active travel plan next year. It is hoped that this will inspire more children and families to travel actively to and from school. The funding comes as a result of the RideLondon and Essex County Council partnership, following the event which took place, in May, earlier this year.
According to the latest Active Lives Survey (December 2022), over half of all children and young people use active travel (walk, ride, scooter) to get to school, yet two-fifths of journeys are still taken by car. During the height of the pandemic (academic year 2020-21) a spike was observed in those not travelling to school, which was due to remote learning. However, all travel modes have returned to 2019-20 levels with less disruption seen across the most recent academic year.
Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “We are working hard to develop walking and cycling opportunities for both leisure purposes and as alterative way to travel. It is encouraging to see that levels of active travel have returned to pre pandemic levels, and we would like to continue to see this grow. Active Essex have received many exciting applications from schools across the county and I hope that this funding will enable them to embed an active travel plan and enable more of their school community to travel actively.”
The funding will see projects such as bike loan schemes, scooter safety training, bike shelters, walking busses and bike sessions for the whole family to utilise. Schools who have secured this vital support will provide physical activity opportunities to more pupils and continue to work towards the Essex climate change agenda.
Helen Akpabio, Essex County Council, said: “With thanks to funding from LMCT, we are delighted to be supporting dozens of schools across the county to implement an active travel plan. These projects will support schools to encourage more children and families to be active before and after school, whilst helping to reduce traffic congestion around schools and ultimately air pollution.”
The London Marathon Charitable Trust, with help from Active Essex, are committed to optimising the levels of physical activity among school pupils in Essex. Making journeys physically active, boosts physical and mental health and is an essential element of the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.
Catherine Anderson, The London Marathon Charitable Trust’s Executive Director, said: “Our mission is to Inspire Activity, and we know that providing more opportunities to walk, cycle or scoot to school is a great way for families to build more activity into their daily routines. We’re delighted so many schools across Essex will be able to use our funding to help both their pupils and their local environments, by promoting more sustainable and active ways to travel to and from school.”
Upon receiving confirmation that St. Helena School, Colchester will be receiving LMCT Schools Active Travel funding, Head Mr.McCarthy commented: “We are so grateful for this grant from Active Essex, and LMCT. It will make a real difference to our students who will now be able to cycle to and from school and build a cycling habit that will serve them well throughout their lives. This funding will allow us to kit out our new bike maintenance workshop, helping students to learn the skills to look after their bikes too.”
Further support and a School Active Travel toolkit can be found on our webpage here.