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Belfast Healthy Cities

Our vision is that Belfast is recognised globally
as a healthy, equitable and sustainable city

Healthy Cities 21st Century

Belfast Healthy Cities Promotes Walking Bus Initiative

Belfast Healthy Cities is championing sustainable travel and the use of green spaces through its innovative Walking Bus project for schools across Belfast. A Walking Bus mimics the traditional bus route, where a group of children walk to school under the supervision of adults, promoting a healthy, active lifestyle along with environmental consciousness.

This initiative, part of a broader commitment to climate action and public health, allows children to engage in physical activity, make new friends, and spend valuable time outdoors on their way to school. Teachers report that students who participate in Walking Buses arrive at school more alert and ready to learn, enhancing their academic performance and overall well-being. 

Charlene Brooks, Chief Executive Officer at Belfast Healthy Cities commented: "By reducing reliance on car travel, the Walking Bus initiative not only decreases air pollution and traffic congestion in residential areas but also enhances the environmental and social fabric of our community. Our organisation is committed to fostering a healthier, more sustainable Belfast and we see the Walking Bus as a key contributor to achieving this vision."

Siobhan McTaggart, Principal at St Therese of Lisieux Primary School said: "Our school was delighted to take part in the Belfast Healthy Cities walking bus initiative. The children enjoy chatting to their friends and to the staff while walking to school in the mornings and it is a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle. As an Eco School, we are also very conscious of the environmental benefits. We are very grateful to the staff who volunteered to facilitate this project."

In a successful collaboration with the Ministerial Advisory Group and with support from the Public Health Agency, Belfast Healthy Cities has recently implemented Walking Bus projects at three local schools. The launch at St. Therese of Lisieux has led to the establishment of a daily Walking Bus, now operational five days a week. Additionally, participation has increased in existing walking buses at Currie Primary School and St Brides Primary School.

Each participating school received high-visibility vests, stickers, reflective key chains, and 'stop and go' paddles to ensure safety and visibility on their journeys.

Belfast Healthy Cities aims to extend this initiative, encouraging more schools across Belfast to make walking a preferred choice for school commutes.