Three Year 8 pupils recently delivered a passionate presentation to Sutton Council on road safety and their plans to encourage more students to walk or cycle to school. Led by Rohan, the trio which also included Ved and Ben, worked tirelessly to put the perfect presentation together.
The opportunity to present to the council came about following a similar presentation which the boys gave at the Sutton Life Centre back in June. Chantelle Swaby, the Locality Lead Officer, was so impressed with the boys’ presentation that she requested for them to have the chance to speak with the local council.
Under the guidance of Mr Andrew Dawkins, the boys helped to form Homefield’s Youth Travel Association (YTA) in May 2014. The YTA is a voluntary activity which the boys carry out in their own breaktimes and lunchtimes. Set up by Transport for London, its purpose at Homefield is to assist with school travel plans and promote greener activities such as walking to school, the park and walk scheme and the greener travel notice board. There are over 1,000 students from more than 130 schools currently engaged in the YTA programme, delivering thousands of positive activities across London.
The boys had clearly done their research prior to the presentation, highlighting the fact that more than 50% of pupils at Homefield travel to school by car and an even greater proportion return home by car. Not only does this cause congestion problems on the roads around the school, it means that the majority of students are missing out on more regular exercise by not walking the short distance to school. Rohan and his team believe that a ‘Park and Stride’ month, during which participants are provided with pedometers to record their walking and given rewards for their support of the scheme, would help to significantly reduce the number of students travelling by car.
Rohan’s enthusiasm for the scheme was clear to see during the presentation and he added “I am passionate about our campaign. Our Youth Travel Ambassador team are really keen to get people parking and walking as much as possible and we hope to achieve at least a 5% decrease in people travelling to school by car.”
The team are hopeful of securing funding support from the council to help with their planned initiative, particularly to assist with producing advertising and promotional material. The council members were very receptive of the boys’ plans and encouraged them to share their ideas with other local schools to see if they can do something similar.
For more information on the YTA, please visit here