Pupils ‘free their feet’ in health drive

WALK ON ... Ed Laschet and Leonie Kameli, centre, with Jarrow School students.

WALK ON ... Ed Laschet and Leonie Kameli, centre, with Jarrow School students.

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PUPILS at a South Tyneside school have put their best foot forward to back a campaign persuading people to walk more.

Students at Jarrow School are the latest to get behind Living Streets’ Free Your Feet campaign, which is a one-week challenge for secondary schools being run by the Schools Go Smarter alternative transport initiative.

Go Smarter aims to cut congestion by persuading people to leave their cars at home and find alternative ways to travel to school and work.

Pupils taking part in the challenge are given a postcard to record how long they spend walking and are entered into a prize draw at the end of the week.

Before the challenge, Living Streets delivers assemblies to introduce it and suggest ways students can incorporate walking more into their routine.

Leonie Kameli, head of Year Seven at Jarrow School, said: “Many of our students already walk to school but this initiative enabled us to promote that further.

“It also encouraged those who use other modes of transport to complete all or some of their journey on foot.

“It is an ideal time of year to get students thinking about being 
active due to the improving weather conditions and lighter nights.

“As a result of this project, Living Streets will now be working with some of our Student Council representatives to develop a campaign to further promote walking amongst the students.”

Project co-ordinator, Ed Laschet, said it is proving to be a popular challenge. Jarrow is one of the final schools to take part in this academic year.”

“Across the region thousands of pupils have put their best foot forward and taken part in the challenge.

“We’ve already got 40 schools lined up for Free Your Feet next year. Many of them will be taking part for a second time – the hope is that children do the challenge over Years Seven, Eight and Nine and build up a habit that can benefit them for a lifetime.”

He added: “When I visit the schools, a lot of the pupils come up to tell me how many miles they’ve walked or cycled to school.

“We get a good response from the young people to our message about being fit and healthy, and they also appreciate that walking helps the environment.

“The students are a lot more aware of their health and the environment than I think they’re ever given credit for.”

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

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