‘We are looking forward to a real summer of activity’

ATTITUDES towards active travel have shifted since lockdown, according to Alun Williams, the education lead of the Health Improvement Commission’s Be Active team.

Education lead of the Health Improvement Commission’s Be Active team Alun Williams and Alex Costen. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30780742)
Education lead of the Health Improvement Commission’s Be Active team Alun Williams and Alex Costen. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 30780742)

During the pandemic, many islanders enjoyed activities such as cycling, walking and running, which has resulted in more people turning to active travel methods.

‘People enjoyed the quiet roads, liked getting out, and maybe for the first time found that activity was a fundamental part of their lives,’ Mr Williams said.

‘We are looking forward to a real summer of activity.’

Cycle shops struggling to meet the demand for bicycles and e-bikes indicated an increase in exercise, Mr Williams said, and audits in June and July found that two-thirds of children in some schools were travelling actively.

‘When children were returning to school, there was an encouragement that they should try to incorporate active travel, and we saw a significant increase in primary and secondary schools,’ he added.

‘We don’t mean for people to give up their cars, but to incorporate some walking into their trips to and from work and school.’

The Health Improvement Commission’s ‘Ready Set Ride’ programme continued to be successful in 2021, with 80 balance bikes and helmets donated to just over 30 early years settings.

‘One area of primary work has been with early years settings,’ Mr Williams said.

‘It’s been quite extensive across a range of settings.’

Schools have been encouraged to make gates safer, consider starting walking buses, and to keep in-line with the physical activity, physical education and school sport policy directive, which was approved by Education, Sport & Culture in January last year.

Mr Williams added: ‘We are encouraging a whole school approach to activity. Some families became less active in lockdown, and this was an experience globally.

‘Since the return to normality, it’s essential that those families are supported and encouraged to be more active.’

Cycling training courses, activity training, and setting out bike markings at Saumarez Park have all aimed to increase activity rates, and a new member of staff for the Be Active team this year will work on embedding physical activity for adults into healthcare, workplaces, and the community.

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