Schools Take Steps on Smarter Travel Adventure

Stuart SmithNews

Aberdeenshire pupils are being encouraged to put their best feet forward as they think about alternative ways to travel to school.

Primary pupils and their families in Ellon, Fraserburgh Huntly, Inverurie and Portlethen areas are being called on to embrace Smarter Travel options on their journeys to and from school this November.

Instead of hopping into the car and being driven to the school gates, they are being asked to look at alternatives like walking, cycling or scootering, alongside park and stride or getting the wider family involved by exercising the dog on the daily walk.

To help them make smarter choices, five Smarter Travel roadshows are taking place at schools, commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council and delivered in conjunction with a range of partners. There will be free bike checks, the chance to find out what a lorry driver can – and more importantly can’t – see from the cab, family-friendly rescue dogs from the Scottish SPCA, Stagecoach information bus, the chance to use pedal power to create a delicious drink using the smoothie bike, road safety advice, giveaways and information.

The roadshows are designed to stimulate interest and chat around alternatives to taking the car, particularly on short journeys like the school run, and to promote walking and cycling, public transport and car sharing options too.

Councillor Peter Argyle, Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee said: “Changing travel choices for short trips like the school run makes perfect sense. Not only can families gain the benefits of getting a little more daily exercise but by leaving the car at home it eases congestion, reduces pollution and creates a safer environment around our schools.”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee Chair, Cllr Gillian Owen, said: “These fun roadshow events and interactive activities will prompt parents to consider making smarter choices when it comes to the school run. It may be the case that some of the mums and dads learn a thing or two about caring for the environment and making healthier choices from their sons or daughters.”

To help pupils step up to the challenge, the roadshows will be preceded be an activity challenge, they will be given pedometers to wear and will be asked to record the number of steps they rack up during a week with prizes to reward their activity.

A banner design competition at each school has also been held and winning entries will be turned into large vinyl banners to promote each roadshow.

The roadshow dates and venues are as follows:

  • Monday, November 20– St Andrew’s Primary, Fraserburgh
  • Wednesday, November 22 – Gordon Primary, Huntly
  • Friday, November 24 – Kellands Primary, Inverurie
  • Wednesday, November 29– Fishermoss Primary, Portlethen
  • Thursday, November 30 – Ellon Primary School

The roadshows are open to pupils at each school in the afternoon, and to parents and pupils at the host and ‘cluster’ schools in each area from 3.15pm-4pm. More details can be found at Facebook by searching for Travel Smart Aberdeenshire or on Twitter at @TSaberdeenshire