Award for walking initiative

Award Winner

5 minute walk zones

Development and promotion of 5 minute walk zones at primary schools to encourage local walking and ‘park & stride’. The project grew from STP parent responses that they don’t have time to walk. We wanted to show that walking can often be quicker than taking the car, and that walking for just 5 minutes is ‘do-able’ for most families.

Local Authority contact details

Jane Deeley School Travel Advisor Swindon Borough Council 01793 466335

Who was involved & what was their role?

The School Travel Advisor initially led the project, supported by school adult champions. Zone mapping and persuasive text for map leaflets is all produced by pupils, often School Councils or Eco-teams. More recently this role has been taken on by Travel Ambassadors. A toolkit is now available to enable schools to run the scheme themselves.

Details of cost budget, sources of funding

The initial project in 2011 was funded by a DH Change4Life grant of £22K. We’ve managed to stretch this money to fund a further 10 schools since! Each school is provided with 500 leaflets (£350), vinyl banners for gates (£40 each) and a pull-up banner for use at events (£80) and we fund a launch event, usually a breakfast (£30- £200) In the first year we also bought incentive items such as bags, T-shirts, pencils and water bottles (c. £4K)

How was it developed?

The project was initially piloted at one engaged school in 2010, then launched at a further 5 in 2011. Pupils go out in small groups to time and map a 5 minute walk from the school gates. A personalised map is produced for each school from a standard template, and is sent out to all families after a whole-school assembly so that all pupils know about the scheme. The school is then responsible for maintaining the scheme in the future with incentives and refresh events.

What was the outcome, including information on future plans - one-off, on-going, develop further?

Since the Change4life project a further 9 schools have launched schemes, with another ready for Sept 13 and at least 2 more planned. Many of these are in response to parking issues. 2013 ‘census’ data shows a decrease in car use within the 800m threshold at all the schools in the first tranche. Hopefully 2014 data will show a similar decrease for this year’s schools!

How does this initiative or project meet the criteria?

The initial idea came from best practice elsewhere, so is not particularly innovative. However, we use the pupils themselves to develop and promote the scheme and have found that this has a much greater impact than if it were a ‘council’-led scheme. They really enjoy the mapping, running breakfast events and rewarding those they spot walking. One group had the idea of giving raffle tickets to parents who walked. Once the school has the basic resources, the scheme can run indefinitely. Although we can, and do reprint leaflets, we also give them a pdf of the map for their websites. Most schools have developed their own rewards and incentives, often around house points, and they promote the zone at induction events. This year we worked with linked infant and junior schools on different sites, and we have also had interest from secondary schools for a similar scheme. School populations currently involved are around 4500 (with 2-3 years of additional pupil turnover), so we consider it good value for money.

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