Student state their case for smart travel projects

They all want to encourage more of their fellow students to walk, cycle or use public transport to get to and from school.

Four schools took part in the Youth Travel Ambassadors Dragon’s Den event in Ealing Town Hall’s council chamber. Funding of up to £250 was available for each school. The schools that took part on the day were Brentside High School, Hanwell, Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, Acton, Cardinal Wiseman Catholic High School, Greenford, and Drayton Manor High School, Hanwell.

Some of the ideas that were pitched included providing biker breakfasts and cycle maintenance workshops to encourage more students to cycle to school. There was also a plan for an inter-form walking competition and the production of a film to raise awareness of road safety.

Another group of students wanted to run a campaign to reduce anti-social behaviour on public transport and raise awareness of what students can do to if they experience threatening behaviour. All involved using innovative ideas and technology to make the projects happen.

All of the students were successful in their bids and will now start to implement their campaigns in their school.

Roxana Pop (13) is a student at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls. She was part of a team that bid for funding to run a road safety awareness campaign in school.

She said: “This is the second year that I’ve been involved with Youth Travel Ambassadors. Last year’s project really made a difference and got more children cycling so I really wanted to take part again. We want our campaign to help children to be safer on transport and be more aware of road safety. I’ve seen accidents happen and want to improve things for everyone.”

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure, said: “These young people should feel very proud of their achievement. It takes a great deal of courage and commitment to stand up in front of a panel of experts and convince them to fund your idea. Their next step is now to persuade their fellow students to take part and make their projects a success.

“Parents can help to support these ideas too. Ditching the car and walking, cycling or using public transport to school instead is an easy way for children to be healthier and more active, and it reduces noise, pollution and congestion. We all want to have cleaner and safer streets and we can all do our bit to make it happen.”

For more information on sustainable school travel and to find out what local schools are doing to make a difference, go to the STARS website.