Pioneering programme gets 2000 children moving across West Yorkshire  

Over 2000 children in the region have been supported to walk, cycle and wheel to school thanks to a pioneering programme being led by the Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin.

A total of 2049 children between the ages of two and five years old have been enrolled in ‘Little Feet’, a programme which teaches them about the environmental, physical and social benefits of walking to school. Thirty schools and nurseries are now actively participating in Little Feet or have signed up to take part.

Children at Mount Pleasant Primary in Huddersfield and Hirst Wood Nursery in Saltaire also took part in a “school route audit”, an activity where they are guided to evaluate their walk to school and suggest changes to make it better. 

The children at Hirst Wood Nursery asked for several changes to their walk to school, including re-painting road signs, reducing pavement parking and improving pavement conditions, and new ‘park and stride’ sites to reduce school gate congestion. 

The children’s recommendations will feed into wider consultation by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, helping to justify future investment to improve travel and transport in Saltaire in ways that will benefit everyone living there. Nine out of 10 children aged two to four do not meet recommended daily activity levels, and many are exposed to poor quality air because of school gate congestion. The Combined Authority’s ‘Little Feet’ programme directly helps address these problems by supporting families to change their habits. 

This wave of walking activity follows a successful launch event with the Mayor at Lapage Primary School in Barkerend, Bradford, held back in January.  

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:  

“Walking to school should be every child’s right. The benefits include enjoying clean air, exercise, and precious time with a loved one while protecting our climate for the  future.  

“This pioneering programme is just one of the ways we’re helping make West Yorkshire a brighter, better-connected place for people to live, work and raise a family.” 

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:  

“It’s fantastic to have so many children taking part in Little Feet and enjoying all the health and happiness benefits that come from walking to school. 

“We believe it’s really important that the people who use our streets have their say on how they can be improved, so it’s great that pupils at Hirst Wood Nursery School were able to share their thoughts on what could make their walk to school better.” 

Sameera Khan, Parent Engagement Officer, Dixons Marchbank Primary School, said: 

“Little Feet is a fantastic initiative which has inspired our children to walk to school more often. 

“The benefits of walking positively impact on our health and mental well-being as well as raising awareness of the world around us.” 

Sam Renwick, Assistant Headteacher, Hirst Wood Nursery School, said: 

 “We would highly recommend Little Feet for Early Years settings. The project provided support to encourage our families to walk to school wherever possible.  

“During the school audit walk, the children identified both positive and negative aspects of our immediate environment, particularly noticing the problem of pavement parking around the school. The children have continued to tell staff about their walks to nursery.” 

Little Feet is funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and delivered by partner organisation Living Streets.  

To learn more about Little Feet, or for schools to sign up, visit our website