Posted on: | Dorset County Council
Children and staff at St Mary’s Academy Beaminster and local residents took part in a road safety street trial and Christmas celebration event, organised by charity Sustrans.
Sustrans is working with residents and school pupils in Beaminster to come up with ways to make the area around the school a nicer, safer place to move around. In a series of workshops year 6 pupils and local residents have considered what they like about streets, what they don’t like, and how street design might make people feel safer.
To trial things out, St Mary’s Gardens was closed for the afternoon on Monday 11 December, when pupils implemented improvements that they had designed. The school played Christmas songs, and the PTFA served hot drinks and mince pies, all while discussing the issues.
The final part of this project will see Sustrans working closely with Dorset County Council to consider new designs for the streets around the school based on the input from everyone who has taken part in these sessions.
Patrick Williams from Sustrans, said:
“Walking and cycling to school is a great way for our children to get the exercise they need every day to keep healthy, and research shows it allows them to become better students in the classroom. Let’s not forget it’s fun, too.”
Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council’s cabinet member for natural and built environment, commented:
“The Christmas street closure was a great success. It was wonderful to see children really involved & putting their ideas into reality albeit short term; the families also enjoyed the festive treats on offer & having fun was had by all in a traffic free street.”
Teri Goodinson, Headteacher at Beaminster St Mary’s, added:
“Lots of our children walk, cycle or ride their scooters to school and we try promote this as a healthy way to start and end the school day. We have a duty to ensure that this is a pleasurable and safe journey for all the children and at present this is not always the case. There have been a couple of near misses recently and this has led to us working with Sustrans to try to improve the situation. The children have really embraced the opportunity to raise their concerns and look at ways in which they can be resolved. They loved the workshops run by Sustrans and came up with some brilliant ideas. We just hope that this can now lead to some changes being made in order to keep all the children safe.”
Sustrans is working in Beaminster thanks to funding from Dorset County Council.