Pedal power boosts schools

SCHOOLS in Northumberland are feeling the benefit of pedal power thanks to the efforts of a transport charity.

Sustrans’ North East Schools Team has been working across the region to encourage children, teachers and parents to walk or cycle to school more often.

Staff give youngsters the skills they need to cycle, walk or scoot safely, as well as offering bike maintenance programmes, guided rides and the installation of bike racks.

In the last six months the organisation has provided 1,560 activities and worked with more than 86,000 pupils, 10,500 staff and 4,000 parents.

At schools working with Sustrans the number of children cycling to class is five times higher than the national average of two per cent.

Sustrans North East Regional Director Bryn Dowson said: “We know that students who walk and cycle to school perform better in class and feel better about themselves.

“With the UK in the grip of an obesity epidemic it is fantastic to see more than 100,000 people in the North East alone learning about the benefits of walking and cycling as an easy way of incorporating exercise into our daily lives.

“Cycling is fantastic for students’ health, confidence and independence, as well as the environment.”