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St Helens aims to reduce Eastbury traffic

Karen Campbell is the St Helens School Travel Plan Champion and has kindly written a piece for us below. For further information, you can contact her at karen.campbell@sthelens.london

I am the School Travel Plan Champion for St Helen’s and work closely with the London Borough of Hillingdon, not only with their School Travel and Road Safety team (STARS), but also with the Parking Services Team (Traffic
Wardens) to encourage parents to always adopt the “Park and Stride” approach. The School takes part in the STARS team’s various initiatives, such as “Independent travel training”, “Bikeability”, “Road Safety”, “Personal Safety”, “Using Public Transport, etc. to encourage safe and sustainable travel. The School installed many bike and scooter racks, and we held a “Bikers’ Breakfast” in 2019 for everyone who adopted this method of transport to travel to School. Sadly, due to the pandemic we have not been able to organise another breakfast, but we will definitely do it next summer! 

With a large all-through (3-18) school like St Helen’s, with pupils coming from far and wide, we do as much as we can to promote sustainable travel. Being so close to the tube station, the older pupils are encouraged to use this
method of transport and the School runs coach services picking up from as far away as Beaconsfield, Ealing, Enfield and Elstree and families with children in Year 3 and up are encouraged to use this service, which is subsided to keep costs down. If parents have to drive, then the “Park and Stride” or “Skip your ride, take a stride” message is constant, and families are encouraged to do all they can to adopt sustainable travel and healthy initiatives. 

I run the Youth Travel Ambassador (YTA) team and it was they who came up with the catchy “Skip your ride, take a stride” strap line for the Walk Zone Map, which is displayed on the fence on Eastbury Road, the gates on Green Lane and also in the Prep School. Parents are asked to park between 5-10 minutes’ walk away to reduce congestion on the roads surrounding St Helen’s at the very busy dropping off and picking up times. 

The YTA’s are currently planning a whole School assembly to highlight “clean air, sustainable travel and the benefits of incorporating a walk every day”. The pupils themselves worked out that if their parents dropped them off in the Green Lane car park and they walked to School, it was less stressful for all than sitting in their mums’ car while she tried to find a parking space outside the school gates!  

The digital version of the Walking Zone Map is on the parent portal and it will be sent to all new parents in their starter packs ready for September, along with the attached “Travelling to School” flyer.   

The majority of parents are listening to the persistent messaging, but we know there is still a long way to go. I want to reassure the Eastbury Residents Association that St Helen’s School is doing absolutely all that it can to encourage its parents and pupils to “Skip their ride and take a stride”!