A Seaford school has reached the finals of a national award in recognition of its transport initiative.
Staff and students from Seaford Head School have been named as finalists for the prestigious Transport Planning Society’s People’s Award.
Members of the school attended a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament yesterday (23 October) where finalists were announced.
Walking charity ‘Living Streets’, which is a partner in the initiative, was also at the event led by Lilian Greenwood MP, chairwoman of the transport select committee.
“The five finalists show transport professionals that when communities take centre stage, they can address local needs and deliver real and lasting benefits,” she said.
“I congratulate all the projects who have been shortlisted for this important award, and I was delighted to hear more about them in the House of Commons.”
In collaboration with the walking charity, Seaford Head School developed maps of the easiest and safest routes to school which include safe places to cross roads, walking routes, and cycling routes.
Students have shared the routes, including tips and guidance, with year six primary school children to encourage them to take more independent and active journeys to and from school; something that was previously lacking.
It also helped students plan their journeys and where to meet up with fellow pupils along the way.
It is hoped the initiative will increase the number of school children who walk or cycle to school said Eleanor Togut, project coordinator at Living Streets.
“I’d urge any families starting a new school run to think of a way to fit some walking in. Not only does it allow children to be more active, but it also ensures school gates are safer and cleaner – it really is the healthiest way to travel,” she said.
“Often, students starting secondary school have little experience of managing their own journeys. This contributes to a number of students getting dropped off by parents or carers as they go through secondary school.
“Older students, like those nominated for the People’s Award, can really help to build confidence in younger pupils to travel independently and sustainably.”
The awards are run by the Transport Planning Society, a professional body for transport planners in the UK, and recognises the most noteworthy transport planning initiatives of the year.
The award invites communities from across the UK to demonstrate how transport planning has made a positive impact in their local area.
The chairman of the society, Stephen Bennett, said that the awards inform professionals on good practice by showing them how projects ‘make a difference’ to peoples lives.
“While major projects hit the headlines, the award is a reminder that often the most important initiatives are ones that take place in the local community, informed or even led by local people; projects that keep us connected to the things we need every day – our jobs, schools, green spaces and health services,” he said.
A prominent panel of judges sought community schemes that made a tangible difference to people’s access to services, their quality of life, and wellbeing and decided to include Seaford Head School in the five-strong shortlist.
Judges included Stephen Joseph OBE, former chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, urban regeneration expert, Mary Parsons, and top civil servants Tricia Hayes CBE and Steve Quartermain CBE.
This year’s finalists are:
Better Streets Enfield: A105 Scheme (Enfield, London)
Croydon Living Streets Group and Friends of Love Lane Green Community Garden (Croydon, London)
Plymouth City Council: Plymotion (Plymouth, Devon)
Ramblers: The Deepings Green Walk (Market Deeping and Deepings St James, Lincolnshire)
Seaford Head School: active travel maps (Seaford, East Sussex)
The overall winner will be announced at the Transport Planning Day on November 20 at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London.
The event will bring together transport planners, town planners, and community groups to discuss best practice in community engagement and inform planners on developing local schemes.
This year’s focus will be sustainable transport for new housing in partnership with Transport for New Homes.