Jo visited St. Matthew’s Primary School on Friday to congratulate students and teachers on their Cycle Friendly School Award.
The school is the first in East Dunbartonshire, and only the 13th in the entire country, to be given the award by Cycling Scotland. It comes following a successful initiative – Active Travel – which aimed to get more pupils at the school to take up cycling. With 1 in 5 children in Primary 1 across Scotland now considered medically overweight or obese, the scheme goes a long way to providing the recommended one hour of physically activity for the children each day.
Jo has taken a keen interest in the cycling initiative at St.Matthew’s, and raised a question in the House of Commons about the school’s ‘Cycle Train’ when concerns over the legality of cycling on pavements put its future in jeopardy. Jo is due to meet with Transport Minister Paul Clark to discuss the issue further.
The pupils have been inspired by a regular on the Bishopbriggs cycling scene – an 82 year old retired teacher who uses her trike to get to hospital appointments as well as to do the weekly shop. Kathleen Lytton has been pedalling regularly for over 70 years and is delighted that local children as young as five are cycling to school.
Commenting, Jo said:
“The pupils and parents at St. Matthew’s Primary School should be commended and I am very pleased that Cycling Scotland has recognised all their efforts.
“Not only does cycling have many health benefits, it is also good for the environment – reducing congestion, improving air quality around the school and avoiding the harmful emissions caused by other forms of transport. This is exactly the sort of personal contribution we all need to be making in the fight against climate change.”
The Cycle Friendly School Award is a national award developed by Cycling Scotland to encourage all Primary schools in Scotland to become more cycle friendly and ultimately to increase the number of children cycling to school which will benefit both their health and the environment amongst a host of other benefits.
Physical activity is now recognised as an important element of a healthy lifestyle. People who are physically active have a lower risk of non-communicable diseases such as obesity, coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and mental health problems. Adults should build up 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days of the week and children should accumulate at least one hour a day.
However, physical inactivity remains one of Scotland’s major public health issues. Despite strong scientific evidence that meeting these recommendations can protect against many of Scotland’s leading chronic diseases and promote positive mental health and well being, two thirds of Scottish adults and one third of Scottish children are failing to meet the recommendations.
The Transform Scotland Trust was established to carry out research and educate the public about transport’s impact on the economy, environment, and society as a whole. The Trust is chaired by Stephen Stradling, Professor of Transport Psychology at Napier University’s Transport Research Institute.
- Click to visit the Cycling Scotland website
- Five-Year Review of, ‘Let’s make Scotland more active’: A strategy for Physical Activity. Scottish Government Feb 2009.