Pupils, parents and staff from Willow Tree Primary School were joined by Harrogate Town, club mascot Harry Gator as well as Zero Carbon Harrogate for their Harrogate District Walk to School on Friday 25th March.
The event saw close to 100 people take part in the walk from The EnviroVent Stadium to Willow Tree Primary School, arriving to the applause from parents, teachers and the Mayor and Mayoress of Harrogate.With carbon emissions in Harrogate 28% above the UK average, both Harrogate Town AFC and Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation want to play a key role in reducing air pollution in the district, as PE and School Sport Manager officer, Tom Blackburn, explained.
“We are very keen to raise awareness of environmental sustainability and assist using the power for the football club. In seeing so many pupils, parents and staff get on board with the Walk to School initiative we hope habits can be changed. We're really excited to be collaborating with Zero Carbon Harrogate and the Harrogate Climate Change Coalition.
“The Walk to school day marks one of the first events in our environmental sustainability plan that will see a number of activities and events delivered in the community that aims to raise awareness of the effects of climate change.”
Willow Tree Primary school pupils, parents and staff, as well as Zero Carbon Harrogate and Harrogate Town walk to school.
Local environmental charity Zero Carbon Harrogate have been a key organiser in the district Walk to Schools and are keen to help lower the Town's carbon emissions by bringing together local businesses, community groups, individuals and politicians to work collaboratively in order to “transform the district”.
“This is our fifth walk to school Friday that we do once a month and it's great to see no cars in the school car park. Children are the future and so it's so important we get them inspired,” Pete Turner from Zero Carbon Harrogate said.
“It's all about the future and it's great to see so many participating in this event, including Harrogate Town. I know how important it is for the football club and they're a key part to this town.”
For Willow Tree Primary School, environmental issues are something that the staff and pupils are passionate about, with each class having an “eco-warrior councillor” who pushes initiatives they want to get involved with. Ditching the cars and walking to school instead is just one example of how they're aiming to play their part.
“It's been fantastic getting involved in the community and the Walk to School initiative is one that is really important to children,” Willow Tree Primary School Deputy Head Teacher, James Hughes, said.
“Our children have become little activists and wanted to do their part by getting people walking and they were really keen for the teachers to make an effort as well.
The Deputy Head Teacher was also keen to highlight the impact that these events have on the mental and physical health of their pupils and also their involvement in the community.
“There's been a big push on the well-being side of things as well as them wanting people outside chatting and talking. You could see the smile on the kids' faces being able to have a chat and enjoy the sunshine.”
“For the children to see their place in the local community, it's really important. With an initiative like this that is so important to the children and that has the backing of Harrogate Town and the Mayor and Mayoress, it's shown them how important an issue it is. It builds that sense of community and where they belong as well which is super.”
The initiative has also been supported by the Mayor of Harrogate, Cllr Trevor Chapman, who was in attendance.
Harrogate Mayor Cllr Trevor Chapman (left), Pete Turner Zero Carbon Harrogate (right)
He said: “I think the morning has been terrific and we're delighted to be here to support the event. We think this is crucially important for the children and especially their health and the environment. We hope many will continue to walk to school.”
Harrogate Town AFC Community Foundation focus on improving health and wellbeing, connecting communities and enhancing life chances. Walking Football is one of the programmes that are delivered locally.
If you require any further information or would like to join our Walking Football team please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on social media: Facebook – HTAFC Community Foundation . Twitter: @htafccf or via our website: http://www.htafccommunity.co.uk