Welcome to Road Safety Wales
Fashion designer Julien Macdonald left London Fashion Week early to officially open 'Puddlers Bridge' - the brand new walking and cycling route in his hometown Merthyr Tydfil.
Julien joined Sustrans Cymru, Cllr Jeff Edwards, Leader of Merthyr Tydfil CBC and twenty pupils from Afon Taf school to open the bridge and unveil the new bench. Julien is one of three local icons whose portraits have been sculpted in steel as part of a bench to mark the opening of the new route. He said; 'It's a really special feeling to have the people from the area I grew up in recognise me in this way, and I hope the portrait bench becomes a well-used and familiar part of the landscape.
'Merthyr is a beautiful part of Wales and a route like this one will inspire more people to get out on foot or bike and discover just how beautiful it is.'
The bridge is a new traffic-free crossing on the Trevithick Trail, which links Pentrebach with Merthyr Tydfil town centre, and will allow walkers and cyclists a safer crossing over busy the A4060. It is also part of a series of new walking and cycling links right across the Welsh valleys, which has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Lee Waters, Sustrans Cymru Director, said; 'Creating safer routes for walking and cycling on is key to encouraging more people to make their short, daily journeys on foot or bike. This bridge, over a very busy road, will be exactly that, and will give everyone more choice about how they travel locally.'
The bridge links up Triangle Business Park, giving people more options for travelling to and from work and giving shoppers better and safer walking and cycling access to the local supermarket.
In partnership with Merthyr Tydfil Country Borough Council, the bridge has been built as part of a national project from charity Sustrans' to build new walking and cycling routes in communities across the UK. The project is part-funded thanks to a £50million from the Big Lottery Fund in 2007.
A Vale of Glamorgan Council scheme to provide a safe route to schools and work in Barry has been given a funding boost.
The off-road cycle and footway is set to be completed by the end of March, thanks to more than £400,000 extra funding from the Welsh Government’s Safe Routes in Communities scheme. The scheme has funded the completion of a route along Port Road, but the additional money will make a path between Barry Comprehensive School and the Docks Link Road a reality by the end of March.
It will allow a safe walking and cycling route for residents to access facilities on Port Road and Colcot Road. School children and students attending Barry Comprehensive, Bryn Hafren and Ysgol Bro Morgannwg secondary schools as well as Colcot Primary School will be among those to benefit from the scheme, which will also link Barry Hospital and other facilities such as surgeries, shops, sports pitches and leisure facilities.
The scheme also benefits from funds that have been secured for the community as the result of the construction of the Vale of Glamorgan Memorial Park and Crematorium and the Golwg-Y-Coed housing development at Pencoedtre. As part of granting planning permission, funds promised by the developer are used to pay for infrastructure such as roads and leisure facilities nearby.
Councillor Jeffrey James, Cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: "This is a key priority for the council and it’s excellent news that further funding has ensured that this important scheme can be completed well ahead of schedule. The combined footpath and cycle path will be of huge benefit to all sectors of the community and also demonstrates the council’s commitment to sustainable travel and safe cycling."
Cwmparc pupils are stepping out with style and safety – after completing essential training with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Road Safety Team.
Parc Primary is the latest school to benefit from the dedicated team’s Kerbcraft training, to keep young residents safe when they are out and about.
With the help of school staff and parents who have come in to help deliver the sessions, the children have learned how to be aware of road dangers, how to be seen and stay safe, how to cross the road and more.
Over the last 10 weeks, they have secured skills and confidence to ensure they remain safe at all times.
Kerbcraft is just one of the many interventions being delivered to residents of all ages by the Road Safety Team, which also include:
- Cycling proficiency and skills
- Awareness and training for older drivers, especially those who work to provide transport for the vulnerable.
- Virtual and real driving experiences for teenagers looking forward to their first driving lessons.
- Road safety discos to raise awareness in a fun and engaging environment
- Partnership campaigns with the police to stop illegal, inconsiderate and dangerous parking on zig-zag and double yellow lines outside schools.
- The appointment of Junior Road Safety Officers, who acts as champions for their school and community, raising awareness of issues.
- The high profile campaign with Sophie Evans, star of West End’s Wizard of Oz, focusing on crossing the road safely, always wearing a helmet when cycling, switching off your mobile and concentrating on where you are walking and wearing a seatbelt or using car seats on every journey.
Cllr Andrew Morgan, Cabinet Member for Transport, Customer Care and Emergency Planning, said: "Every day, there is work taking place by the Road Safety Team, in one form or another, to engage with residents of all ages to ensure we are all safe pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
"Kerbcraft is just one of those pieces of work and we are proud of the hard work put in by the pupils at Parc Primary to ensure they learn the skills and confidence they need to star safe.
A project to cut the number of shorter car journeys in south Wales is being launched. About 63,000 homes in Cardiff and Penarth will be offered personalised travel advice to reduce those taking the school run and short commutes.
The £4m four-year scheme from the Welsh Government and transport charity Sustrans Cymru will eventually extend to Barry, Caerphilly and Pontypridd. Organisers say even cutting car use for one day a week makes a big difference. The scheme will encourage use of public transport, cycling and walking as alternatives.
The launch at Ysgol Melin Gruffydd, Cardiff is timed to start with the autumn school term, which has led to a surge in peak-time traffic across Wales. One in five cars on the road at 08:50 on a weekday is doing the school run, according to sustainable transport charity Sustrans Cymru.
Director Lee Waters said: "Many pupils are driven from their front doors to the school gates yet the average journey to school for primary aged pupils is just 1.6 miles (2.5km).
"Given the right information about alternative ways to travel, more people could leave their cars at home.
"We'll work with people at school, work and home, helping them to make changes to their daily travel choices when and where it suits them.
"If each family replaced one car journey a week with a more sustainable alternative it can make a big difference."
After working with Cardiff council and the Vale of Glamorgan council - in Penarth - in the first phase of the project, the intention is then to deliver it to Barry, Caerphilly and Pontypridd. It will then be taken to other sustainable transport centres in Wales, beginning with Mon a Menai in the north west next year. Eventually, it will reach more than 100,000 households across Wales, as well as workplaces and schools.
Local Government and Communities Minister Carl Sargeant said: "We are fully committed to delivering a truly sustainable transport system across Wales and by providing people with realistic and enjoyable alternatives to the car we can change people's attitudes towards transport".
He added that the benefits of using sustainable transport are wide-ranging, from "enjoying healthy exercise as you walk or cycle to work to reducing congestion in our towns and cities".
Lisa Ford, executive member for traffic and transportation at Cardiff council, said the council was proud to be involved and hoped the project would "help people consider how they travel and as a result will use forms of sustainable travel for more journeys."
Sustrans says it has already seen great results from similar projects elsewhere in the UK, typically seeing a cut in car trips by around 10%.
The rain clouds parted long enough for 243 children, teachers and adjudicators to participate in the annual ‘Giant Walking Bus’ record attempt at Maendy Primary School, Cwmbran, at 10am on Wednesday 15 June.
The event, which is masterminded nationally by road safety charity Brake, gives a visual reminder to passing drivers that they should slow down around schools. It also encourages participants to get out of their cars and enjoy walking to and from school and around the community. Judging by the smiles and happy voices as the children walked along busy Cwmbran Drive while passing drivers sounded their horns in support, today’s march was a great success.
Leading the crocodile of over 240 pupils clad in hi visibility tabards were the year 5 Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) Josh Williams and Emma Tapp. The two JRSOs held up a large colourful banner with the slogan, “Slow down around schools”. Josh and Emma will be recruiting two new JRSOs to help them deliver road safety initiatives in the school from September; there should be plenty of volunteers following the success of today’s Giant Walking Bus!
Back at school, Mrs Wicks lead a whole school assembly in which the dangers of walking while texting on a mobile phone and the journey to senior school for the year 6 leavers, were among the topics discussed. The Year One children then sang a song specially written for the occasion.
Alison Wicks, the organiser of the walk said, “It has been hard work to set up but everything has worked out as planned. The Giant Walking Bus fulfils many curriculum requirements and also helps towards our Eco-School submission: best of all we’ve all had a lovely morning. Maendy School will definitely be participating in next year’s Giant Walking Bus!”
Penny Thorpe, Principal Road Safety Officer with Capita Symonds (Cwmbran), said, “I was one of the adjudicators and went on the walk with the pupils. I was very impressed by their interest and how well they behaved on the walk, especially the older children who took responsibility for younger pupils and talked about some of the visible road safety issues as they walked.”
More than 100 pupils from primary schools in the Aber Valley took part in a mass guided walk along a newly created safe route in the community. The Caerphilly County Borough Council Mayor, Cllr Vera Jenkins, joined the children as they walked to their local comprehensive - St Cenydd School in Caerphilly - before taking part in a series of road safety and sustainability themed activities.
This event was organised by CCBC and aimed to encourage more primary school children to choose to walk and cycle to secondary school next year. It was part of a week of wider activities called ‘Lush Hour’ coordinated by Sustrans Cymru.
The organised walk started at Nant-y-Parc School in Senghenydd and followed the new Safe Routes in Communities to St Cenydd School, with other feeder primary schools joining on along the way.
The new pedestrian and cycling route from Senghenydd to St Cenydd School was developed as part of the Safe Routes in Communities project which was funded by The Welsh Government and the Regional Transport Plan Grant.
On reaching St Cenydd School, the pupils were entertained by Voice FM while tucking into a healthy and sustainable picnic lunch, followed by activities including ‘smoothie bikes’ and parachute games.
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Engineering and Transport said, “Initiatives like this are an excellent way to help encourage pupils to lead a healthier lifestyle, by allowing them to enjoy a daily walk or cycle in the fresh air with their friends. This new route, which follows the old railway line, has been opened up for everyone to use and we want the whole community to make good use of it in the future.”
Local businesses helped to support the event by supplying goods or services and the organisers would like say a big thank you to Castell Coaches, Asda Caerphilly and Allied Bakery.
For more information contact Susan Davies on 01495 235402
School Travel Plan Officer
Caerphilly County Borough Council
Motorists in Swansea are putting young children's lives at risk by failing to stop for school crossing patrols.
Swansea Council has just launched a month-long campaign called 'Stop Means Stop' in a bid get motorists to stop when patrols attempt to walk children across the road.
The Council employs dozens of school crossing patrols, more commonly known as lollipop men and women, to help young children cross busy roads during the walk to and from school.
Patrols have reported a number of near misses across the city. Gwyn Lewis helps school children walk to and from Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School in Morriston.
Mr Lewis said: "Some cars come down the road much too fast and have problems stopping in time.
"We can get a lot of abuse from drivers who don't want to stop or slow down. They only need to stop for a few seconds and at the end of the day they are stopping for the children's benefit.
"I've been in the middle of the road before now and drivers have not stopped and just driven straight past me. It can be quite scary."
The campaign is being launched just three months after a 79 year old lollipop lady was struck and killed by a bus in Ayrshire.
John Hague, Cabinet Member for the Environment in Swansea Council, said: "These men and women do a wonderful job helping children to cross roads during school time.
"I think it's appalling that some motorists think it's ok to either verbally abuse patrols or for cars not to stop when they step into the road.
"School crossing patrols have the same legal powers as police to stop traffic. And to ignore them and not stop is a criminal offence. More importantly, these selfish drivers are putting young children at risk every day.
"I would urge motorists to please be careful and stop when you see a school crossing patrol."
Teachers in Gwynedd were dumbfounded in January when a big hairy cat arrived at their schools. Careful Carys is the likeable Road Safety Character from the Gwynedd Road Safety Department.
“Will you come and visit Gwynedd Schools with me?” Careful Carys asked Meinir Gwilym.” I worry terribly when I see children jumping up and down in the car, and not clicking their seatbelt and sitting in the correct seat”
“I would love to” replied Meinir, “The most important song this time is CLIC CLIC ?”
“And “MAE GEN I SET” (I’ve got a seat) said Carys “it’s very important that children sit in the correct seat”.
Off they went for a fortnight, to spread the message about keeping safe in the car.
All the Children were given the Careful Carys story book and a special cover to put on their seat belt to remind them how important it is to Click that belt.
Volunteers and members of staff that help ensure Caerphilly county borough schoolchildren are safe and know all about road safety were thanked for their hard work recently, at the annual School Crossing Patrol and Road Safety Seminar.
The event, which brought together more than 110 dedicated Kerbcraft volunteers, Road Safety Officers and School Crossing Patrol officers from across the county borough, aimed to thank everyone for their hard work this year, and take a look at new road safety initiatives for the forthcoming year.
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Engineering and Transport said, “Our Road Safety team, together with a network of volunteers and School Crossing Patrol officers work tirelessly to help ensure our local youngsters know all about the importance of road safety, and to ensure their safety coming to, and going home from school”.
He continued, “We have a wide variety of initiatives, such as the Kerbcraft scheme and Walking Buses, which really help to educate our children about keeping safe when out and about, and I am delighted that those who work so hard to ensure these vital schemes are able to come to fruition have been thanked at our annual road safety seminar”.
The group were also joined by pupils from Blackwood Comprehensive School, who recently were the deserving winners of a national multimedia competition. Their film about the dangers associated with drink driving beat entrants from across Wales to scoop the regional and All Wales prize.
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Vera Jenkins also offered her personal thanks to the Kerbcraft volunteers, for their commitment in bringing the subject of road safety and the roadside to Year Two pupils across Caerphilly county borough.
Ysgol Gymraeg Trelyn completed the occasion by providing entertainment in the form of a series of beautifully sung Welsh songs.
The Children’s Traffic Club has stopped off in Presteigne to promote road safety to youngsters. Powys County Council's Road Safety team took the club to The Little Peoples Nursery in Presteigne where children enjoyed pre-school games, stories and road safety activities.
The Children's Traffic Club is an award winning road safety programme for 3-4 year olds. Once registered, parents or carers receive a series of 6 books to work through with their child. It aims to help children learn how to keep safe in a fun and memorable way.
Alyson Broome, Powys County Council’s Road Safety Project Officer, said: "Children can be best influenced when they are very young and good habits established early can last a life time. The Children’s Traffic Club has proved to be a valuable tool in keeping our children safe when out and about."
Information about the traffic club is sent to all parents in Powys around their child’s third birthday. If you have not received your pack and would like to join, contact Alyson Broome at the Road Safety Unit on 01597 826979.
The next Children’s Traffic Club day will be with Newtown Parent Link Group on Friday 21st January 2011 at 10am at the Methodist Church, Newtown. Come along for games, stories and lots of fun!
Were you a member of the Tufty Club? Did you know that Tufty, the road safety squirrel, is still used to teach children safe ways to cross the road?
Tufty Fluffytail was born in 1953, as a creation of the late Elsie Mills MBE. Original stories for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents featured the squirrel and his friends and introduced clear and simple safety messages for children. Tufty was joined in his adventures by Minnie Mole and the naughty Willy Weasel along with Mrs Owl the teacher and Policeman Badger, who always popped up in the nick of time to save the children. In 1961, the Tufty Club was set up as a nationwide network of local groups. At its peak there were 24,500 registered Tufty Clubs. The characters’ images were changed to keep up with the times in 1979 and again in 1993.
Today Tufty is used by a dedicated band of ladies, known to children as “Mrs Tufty”, to teach road safety in reception, year 1 and year 2 classes throughout Gwent. Tufty is seen as an integral part of the schemes run by the local authorities to help keep children safe on our roads, and reinforces the lessons of more recent road safety innovations such as Kerbcraft.
With this in mind Tufty has found his way to the road safety website, He has his own pages with topical road safety advice, stories, songs and competitions to win road safety goodies. Parents can enrol their children in the Tufty Club and order a range of road safety story books and low cost, hi-visibility items specially selected for children (but useful for adults too).
Parents play an important role in developing a child’s road safety skills, and now Tufty is there to help at the click of a mouse.
Pupils from across the Caerphilly County Borough wrapped up warm and set off to school on foot throughout October in celebration of International Walk to School Month.
The annual event offered children, parents, teachers and community leaders an opportunity to be part of a global event. This year was no exception with more than 40 countries across the globe taking part from Australia to Japan, and pupils from across Caerphilly county borough made sure that Wales was well represented, and made a fantastic effort to take part.
Cllr. Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Planning said, "I am so proud of our pupils for embracing the challenge and jumping on board the walking bus, despite the recent cold weather. All 3,000 pupils and teachers involved have put Caerphilly county borough on the map as having people of all ages who really do want to make a difference to the environment. Walking to school promotes health, physical activity, and relieves congestion around the school, making it a safer environment for all of the community."
The walking bus is something of a regular mode of transport for many schools in the Caerphilly county borough, with a number of schools taking part all year round. In order to encourage pupils to ditch the fumes and stretch their legs in the colder months, schools have gone the extra mile with the promotion, in an effort to enthuse the whole community to get involved. Ysgol-y-Lawnt in Rhymney designed a bus to be placed on the school walls acting as a totaliser for each day they completed another eco friendly journey to school.
For further information on Walking Buses or School Travel Plans in Caerphilly County Borough contact Susan Davies, School Travel Plans Co-ordinator on 01495 235 402.
Local businesses and communities can reap the benefits of improved walking and cycling facilities says Environment Minister Jane Davidson. The Minister was speaking from the Welsh Assembly Government’s third Walking and Cycling Conference which is aimed at getting more people in Wales to walk and cycle regularly.
This year’s conference was held in Port Talbot. The location was selected because of the council's efforts to develop high quality walking and cycling facilities and its progress in encouraging both the local community and visitors to the area to utilise them.
Speaking at the conference, the Minister said:
“The benefits of walking and cycling are not just restricted to health and wellbeing.New and improved walking and cycling routes often act as a catalyst for new businesses and facilitate the growth of existing ones.
“We have seen numerous examples of bike hire enterprises, cafes, hotels and B&Bs flourishing as a result of improvements to walking and cycling provision. This in turn results in increased job opportunities within the local community and a more vibrant local economy.”
One good example of this is the economic growth stimulated by the mountain bike trails at Afan Forest Park. Just last week Afan Lodge, a hotel that particularly targets cyclists that use the local trails, won the ‘Best New Business’ award at the National Tourism Awards.
European funding has been secured to develop routes for walkers and cyclists. This will help attract visitors to Wales as well as providing useful paths for local people.
The promotion of walking and cycling can also result in growth in the third sector. Projects such as Pedal Power in Cardiff, which uses the Taff Trail as a safe environment for people with disabilities to enjoy cycling, have enjoyed great success over recent years and have provided opportunities within the community that would not otherwise have been available.
The Assembly Government’s Walking and Cycling Action Plan outlines exactly how it will encourage much greater participation in walking and cycling across the board.
The Minister added:
“ We have set ourselves some ambitious targets in the our Walking and Cycling Action plan, not least our goal to triple the proportion of adults and children who cycle to work and school.
“Whilst these are challenging targets, in my view they are definitely achievable.
“Our first annual report of the action plan showed that a good deal of progress has already been made. Our priority now is to build on that progress so that walking and cycling in Wales becomes a natural choice for both travel and recreation.”
Around 45 of Pembrokeshire's Crossing Patrol Assistants have stepped out wearing newly designed uniforms supported by South Hook’s Community Investment Programme.
The County Council’s team of Crossing Assistants provide a safe crossing point for around 2000 local children on their daily journey to school. The new uniforms, of two-tone contrasting colours will enable patrol assistants to be more visible to drivers, ensuring that they stay safe whilst providing an invaluable service to communities across Pembrokeshire.
“Safety is our top priority at South Hook” says Director & General Manager, Mohammed Al Naimi. “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to support safety initiatives across Pembrokeshire that echo the South Hook ethos” he said.
Councillor Jamie Adams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Planning said the gesture was much appreciated. “We are very grateful to South Hook for their donation towards our school crossing patrols” he said.
The contrast patrol uniform is a bespoke design, developed by the leading waterproof and work-wear manufacturers, Bristol Oilskin & Overall Co.
The latest Official Statistics on Monitoring ‘A Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales 2009-2013’ produced by the Welsh Assembly Government were released on 3 August 2010 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
Statistics on Monitoring ‘A Walking and Cycling Action Plan for Wales 2009-2013’ include data for Wales for 2007 up to 2009. This is the first of a series of bulletins that will be released on an annual basis.
The key points from this release are:
- The target to increase the percentage of children who walk to school to match the UK National Average was met in 2007-08. The percentage of 5-16 year olds walking to school in Wales is currently 45 per cent.
- The target to triple the percentage of children cycling to school cannot currently be monitored against the baseline set in the Action Plan due to a substantial change in the survey used to monitor this target. Work is currently underway with colleagues responsible for the Action Plan to develop an alternative data source.
- The target to increase the number of people who walk to work to 20 per cent has not been met currently. However, the latest available data does show that there has been an increase in the proportion of people walking to work up from the baseline of 10.3 per cent to 11.0 per cent.
- The target to triple the percentage of adults whose main mode of travel to work is cycling has not been met currently. The latest available data shows that the proportion of adults cycling to work is stable at the baseline level of 1.4 per cent.
- The target to increase the number of people walking for recreation to 50 per cent has not been met currently. The latest available data shows that the proportion of adults who have done any walking (over 2 miles) in the past four weeks has fallen to 34 per cent from the baseline of 40 per cent.
- The target to double the percentage of adults cycling for recreation has not been met currently. However, the latest available data does show that there has been an increase in the proportion of people who have cycled in the past four weeks up from the baseline of 5 per cent to 8 per cent.
SB 65/2010 'Walking & Cycling Action Plan for Wales 2009 – 2013’, Monitoring Report
Caerphilly County Borough’s longest walking bus belongs to Ysgol-y-Lawnt in Rhymney – with a staggering 186 walkers on board!
As part of national Walk to School Week recently, hundreds of children from primary schools across Caerphilly county borough took part in a special ‘Walking Bus’ competition.
Ysgol-y-Lawnt in Rhymney were crowned the winners of the competition after 186 pupils, teachers, parents and support staff made theirs the longest walking bus in Caerphilly county borough and probably one of the longest in the whole of Wales.
Officers from the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and even the local vicar came along and took part in the 20-minute walk to school.
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Transportation and Planning presented Ysgol-y-Lawnt with a beautiful glass trophy as their prize for winning the competition.
He said, “I am delighted that so many young people have signed up to walk to school across Caerphilly County Borough. Not only do walking buses help promote road safety and reduce congestion, they also help tackle pollution and help promote a healthier lifestyle for our young people.”
He continued, “A special congratulations must of course go to Ysgol-y-Lawnt in Rhymney for achieving the County Borough’s longest walking bus.”
Schools across the Caerphilly County Borough hope to build upon this success in time for October, which is International Walk to School Month.
For further information on Walking Buses or School Travel Plans in Caerphilly CBC, please contact Susan Davies, School Travel Plans Co-ordinator on 01495 235 402.
The Children’s Traffic Club has celebrated another successful year in Pembrokeshire. At Cilgerran Church in Wales VC School, the reception and nursery class children had fun at the Club’s annual party.
The pupils learnt all about the club before playing party games and dressing up as Larry Look and Lucy Listen to learn how to stay safe on or near the roads.
They were given goody bags and cake to take home. All the children are signed as members of the club.
“Three and four-year-olds learn through play and fun,” said Councillor Jamie Adams, Cabinet Member for Highways and Planning.
“The Children’s Traffic Club pack is an excellent resource for all parents and guardians to use to encourage the teaching of road safety at such a vulnerable age.”
The club activity books introduce friends such as Sammy Seatbelt, Rhonda Red and Handy Hold.
Children around the county can become members at special children traffic club events at their school, organised by Pembrokeshire’s road safety office. Alternatively, they can receive information on the Club from Health Visitors from the local health trust at the child’s 36 month check up.
Membership is free as the registration fee is paid by Pembrokeshire County Council from funding from the Welsh Assembly Government.
Once parents/guardians have registered, their child will receive their first book, followed by a further five books at regular intervals.
Pembrokeshire County Councillor Jamie Adams added: “The Children’s Traffic Club is an effective and proven way to deliver road safety information to pre-school children.
“The message is reinforced at school early years units, playgroups and nurseries through the Children’s Traffic Club Nursery Pack.”
Nursery packs can be acquired free of charge by all school early years units, playgroups and nurseries by contacting County Council road safety education officer Kirstie-Anne Donoghue on 01437 775434.
Encouraging residents in Neath Port Talbot to take up walking and cycling as a way to improve their health has taken a major step forward this week. To coincide with National Bike Week (19-27 June), the Council has launched a four year walking and cycling strategy which aims to change social attitudes towards walking and cycling.
The Council's climate change team has organised a Bike Festival in Margam Park on 26th June to celebrate the launch of the strategy.
The local community, families and anyone who wants to get on their bike or go for a walk are invited to this free event. There will be cycle routes for all ages and abilities, training in cycle skills and bike maintenance as well as themed walks, a picnic and a treasure hunt for children.
"Creating a healthier society is the driving force behind this initiative," said Council Leader, Ali Thomas.
"The strategy has been out to wide public consultation and has now been adopted by the Council.
"We must now increase awareness of the health benefits to be gained and promote how cycling and walking can easily be a part of everyday life."
The strategy sets out ways of improving levels of fitness across the county borough. These include making communities more active through walking and cycling, promoting tourism opportunities, improving the walking and cycling network and encouraging people to walk or cycle to work.
A Monmouthshire schoolgirl put her best foot forward recently to raise money for the Welsh children's cancer charity, Latch. Ten-year-old Robyn Evans, a pupil at Rogiet Primary School, took part in the glow walk.
This was a walk around Caerleon starting from Caerleon Comprehensive School which saw around 500 people taking part.
Organiser of the glow walk, Helen Beveridge, said they are now on target to raising around £6,000 for this charity once all the sponsorship comes in.
She said the walk went "brilliantly" and that they hope to hold it again next year. As part of her preparation for the walk, year five pupil Robyn Evans took part in walk to school week. This saw her walking the 3.5 miles from her Caerwent home to her Rogiet school, accompanied by her mum and deputy head teacher Vicky Curtis.
A new walking bus is making its way around Ynysddu to help local children get to school safely. Caerphilly County Borough Council is keen to encourage as many youngsters as possible to walk to school and schemes such as the walking bus are helping to get more and more pupils involved.
A 'Walking Bus' sees pupils travel to and from school in supervised groups. The initiative has really taken off over recent years and many parents welcome the opportunity to see their children escorted to school in a safe, organised group with their friends.
The new walking bus at Ynysddu Primary School is being launched during National Walk to School Week (17 - 21 May), to encourage more school pupils to walk, rather than be driven to school.
CCBC cabinet member, Cllr Rob Gough, said: "Initiatives like this are an excellent way to help reduce the number of cars on our roads doing the daily school run. As well as helping to cut congestion and reduce pollution, the schemes also encourage pupils to lead a healthier lifestyle by allowing them to enjoy a daily walk in the fresh air with
Ynysddu Primary School Head Teacher, John Farmer, said: “The enthusiasm with which the whole school community has approached the initiatives introduced through the School Travel Plan has been fantastic. The children in particular have been really keen to get involved and the group they set up to lead on these initiatives. The Walk to the Future Team has generated some great ideas for running and promoting the Walking Bus.”
Local ward officers for Ynysddu - PC Alan Tinsley and PCSO Louise Jenkins - have been working with Ynysddu Primary School to make sure that the pupils are getting to school safely, as well as to raise awareness of dangers on the roads.
A green cone scheme has also been set up at the school. The local ward officers worked with the school and Caerphilly county borough council to start the scheme after it became clear that there were too many vehicles trying to park outside of the school. The green cones are placed outside the school at the start and end of the school day to encourage more people to walk to school or park away from the entrance.
PC Alan Tinsley, said: "Parents and residents have already said that the green cones have helped to ease the traffic problems that were being experienced outside the school. Our main aim is to ensure that the children get to and from school safely as previously there were too many vehicles trying to park outside the school at the same time, which could have posed a danger to the pupils."
PCSO Louise Jenkins, said: “The walking bus is being launched to help pupils get to school safely and to encourage more of them to walk, rather than be driven to school. The children will be accompanied by adults to make sure that they stay safe.”
Most schools across the area have developed School Travel Plans which set out ways of developing safe routes to school from surrounding towns and villages. A lot of investment has been provided for new walking routes, cycle paths and other measures to help create safe routes in the community.
21/5/10 Schoolchildren in Rhondda Cynon Taf have received expert advice in a fun and informative way to warn them of the dangers of not taking care while crossing the road. Pupils from Blaengwawr Primary have worked for 10 weeks on the Kerbcraft scheme, which was delivered in their school by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Road Safety Unit.
During the initiative the five to seven-year-olds have been learning about being safe pedestrians, such as crossing the road, being safe – being seen and more.
Kerbcraft is a successful scheme developed by the University of Strathclyde that aims to teach children about safe use of the roads in a practical environment, rather than a classroom.
As such, all of the work completed by the children has been outside, where they have looked at safe places to cross, crossing safely near parked cars or junctions.
As well as expert support from the Road Safety Unit and their teachers, the children at Blaengwawr also benefited from the input of their parents, who volunteered their time to help deliver the course.
Cllr Andrew Morgan, Cabinet Member for Transport and Customer Care at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: ““We are all aware of the possible dangers associated with traffic on the road and the sooner we educate children on these hazards, the safer they become.
“Once again, these initiatives manage to inform and educate young children in an entertaining manner which helps them to remember the basic rules of road safety.”
A scheme set up to encourage three year olds to stay safe on the county’s roads is being relaunched in Denbighshire. The Children’s Traffic Club was originally launched in Denbighshire as a pilot scheme for the whole of Wales in April 2002. The idea originated in Scandinavia, where it proved successful in changing attitudes and reducing casualty figures.
The club is available to all 3 year olds, and parents who register their child on the scheme are sent a series of 6 books, each containing road safety advice which is delivered in a colourful and fun way.
The books contain characters such as Handy Hold, Larry Look and Lucy Listen, each providing road safety advice for children, as well as teaching parents effective ways of communicating the important messages contained in the booklets.
All play groups, nurseries, and childminders are able to participate in this scheme with Children's Traffic Club Packs which contain the 6 books, colouring templates, a song and story CD, and various other activities. Health Visitors also have CTC packs which they can use during early years checks.
The launch of the Denbighshire Children’s Traffic Club will take place on 13th April.
For further information, please contact Denbighshire’s Road Safety Unit, on 01824 706888.
The continuing high standards achieved by Vale of Glamorgan Council School Crossing Patrols (SCPs) have once again been recognised at their annual awards ceremony held in Barry, which also included, for the first time, the volunteers involved with the child pedestrian training scheme Kerbcraft in Vale Primary Schools.
Everyone, whether acting in a paid or voluntary role, was thanked for their dedication and commitment to Road Safety and commended on their professionalism and enthusiasm in helping ensure that children and adults alike are provided with safe crossing points throughout the Vale and are given the skills to ensure that they remain safe whilst they are out and about on today’s roads.
Rob Thomas, Head of Planning and Transportation, paid tribute to the ‘lollipop’ ladies & gentlemen of the Vale for ‘carrying out their duties with an enviable disposition and a cheery smile’……’with signs held high and brightly coloured coats you are superb representatives of the Council and a welcoming sight to pedestrians….’
He also thanked the Kerbcraft volunteers who have freely given up their time over the past 7 years, put on their yellow jackets and walked with over 3,000 children out and about on the streets outside their schools teaching them how to remain safe.
Several awards were then presented to those School Crossing Patrols and Kerbcraft volunteers, whose efforts were particularly appreciated over the past twelve months:
For the SCP Service, the Area Winners were:
Llantwit Major, St Athan & Rhws – Val Western – from the Porthkerry Road post near Rhws Primary School after many years outside Holton Primary School, she is set to retire in the New Year after nearly 20 years service.
Barry West (Buttrills, High Street & Romilly areas) – Tony Masters – over 3 years as a patrol, but has already made a big impression on Port Road and especially outside Ysgol Sant Curig which he is temporarily covering.
Barry East (Cadoxton, Colcot & Holton areas) – Sandra Riggott – with 6 years under her belt, she is very popular with the residents on Winston Road and the children attending Colcot Primary School.
Penarth, Sully & Dinas Powys – Michael Campbell-Jones – only 20 months in post on Lavernock Road, but already has great attention to detail in helping the pupils of Evenlode Primary School, amongst others, cross this busy stretch.
School Crossing Patrol of the Year
Two firsts – the first time that 2 Officers have jointly won the award and the first time that the top award has ever been retained in its’ 23-year history!!
The famous SCP Shield was presented to Alison Richardson, 2008’s Winner and Lynne Hughes, with over 31 years of service, who both patrol outside Eagleswell Primary School in Llantwit Major.
They have made a magnificent contribution to Road Safety both inside and outside the school, and are well-known and well-loved by children, parents and staff alike!! The two ladies have been very innovative and have worked with Eagleswell to recognise, acknowledge and promote the good behaviour of pupils crossing with them and to encourage more to walk to their school by awarding ‘house points’.
(N.B. It is interesting to note that this is the fourth time in five years that the School Crossing Patrol of the Year Award has gone to Llantwit Major. Sheila Allen (St Illtyd) won the title in 2005, Alex Daw (Ham Lane) won it in 2007 & Alison Richardson (Eagleswell) for her first time in 2008. Is there something in the air (or on the roads ?!) down Llantwit-way…???!!)
For Kerbcraft, the first-time winners were:
Johanna Hopkins, a former teacher who has been volunteering since Kerbcraft began 7 years ago. In her ‘spare time’ she enjoys bowls and golf (where she is Lady Captain at Brynhill this year !!) as well as being a governor at Rhws Primary School where she helps with the child pedestrian training.
Johanna Jones, a lady who has also been there since the beginning at Peterston-Super-Ely Primary School, where she has also assisted with the Gardening Club and numerous other projects. She has followed her twin grandchildren right through the school, and despite the fact that they have both moved on to secondary education, she stills lends a helping hand (or two) every week to the child pedestrian training.
After a DVD presentation of Anti-Drink Drive films produced by pupils of Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren Schools, a light-hearted interactive quiz and buffet followed, which was hosted by the Vale of Glamorgan Council Road Safety Team.
If anyone is interested in becoming a School Crossing Patrol Officer, there are currently vacancies in Barry, St Athan & Cowbridge.
The rate of pay is £6.38 per hour with a half pay retainer paid during school holidays. Working hours are up to 2 hours per day/10 hours per week.
For further information please contact Karen Stokes in the Vale of Glamorgan Council Road Safety Unit or ring Contact OneVale on 01446 700111 for an application pack.
If you would like to volunteer to help the Kerbcraft Scheme in local primary schools, please contact Jayne Jenkins on the above number.
Who knows next year – YOU may be part of the Annual Awards Presentation …??!