Pupils dancing in the street to promote walking to school

Youngsters from Sunderland's Valley Road Primary School take part in a dance event to promote walking to school.
Youngsters from Sunderland's Valley Road Primary School take part in a dance event to promote walking to school.
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WEARSIDE youngsters strutted their stuff to encourage families to walk to school.

Sunderland pupils boogied across the Gateshead Millennium Bridge to celebrate Living Streets’ Walk to School Week.

About 200 pupils from across the region, including groups from Blackfell, St Mary’s RC, Valley Road and St Anne’s RC Primary Schools, got their dancing shoes on to encourage parents to ditch the car and try the school run on foot instead.

Led by dancers from Newcastle’s Dance City, the children made their way from the Tyne Bridge, along the quayside and over the Millennium Bridge before finishing their dance walk to music in Baltic Square.

The event was organised by national charity Living Streets and Tyne and Wear sustainable transport programme Schools Go Smarter.

In the morning, the children took part in dance workshops to hone their moves and decorated their own T-shirts to wear on the dance walk.

Simon Bromhead, from Living Streets, said: “It was absolutely fantastic to see all the children dancing along the quayside and across the bridge. Everyone had a brilliant time and it just demonstrated how much fun walking can be.

“Unfortunately, our streets are designed for cars and not people and the Living Streets Dance Walk highlighted the fact that we need to prioritise pupils, not traffic, on the walk to school.

“The walk to school is an easy way to build some exercise into a child’s day. With one in three children now leaving primary school overweight or obese, it’s a national scandal that fewer than half of our children walk to school.

“But traffic-choked streets, speeding cars and inconsiderate parking create danger around the school gates for millions of families.”

Living Streets is calling on central Government to make the walk to school safer and easier for everyone by formulating a travel policy and giving guidance to local authorities.

Nick Clennett, of the Go Smarter Project, said: “Go Smarter was delighted to have supported Living Streets Dance Walk.

“It was great to see so many children and their families walking together.

“It was an excellent way to demonstrate how enjoyable walking can be, and hopefully encourage children and their parents and carers to walk to school.”