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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Groggan Primary School goes the extra mile

Pupils from Groggan Primary School with Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at PHA, Dr Brenda McKay-Redmond, Co-chair of the Daily Mile Network NI and Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Johnny McCrystal, Active Travel Officer at Sustrans.

Pupils from Groggan Primary School with Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at PHA, Dr Brenda McKay-Redmond, Co-chair of the Daily Mile Network NI and Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies and Johnny McCrystal, Active Travel Officer at Sustrans.


Groggan Primary School near Randalstown is taking on a mighty Daily Mile challenge of matching the miles from their school to Mount Kilimanjaro as part of this year’s Active School Travel (AST) programme with Sustrans, funded by Public Health Agency (PHA) and Department for Infrastructure.


Inspired by a pupil whose father recently hiked up the mountain in Tanzania, the school will come together each day to walk or run until they have clocked up over 4,000 miles to reach the distance of the journey to the mountain.



Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer with PHA said:


“We are delighted to see Groggan Primary School putting in such strong efforts to complete their Daily Mile challenge which has been supported by their participation in the AST programme.


“The challenge offers a fun and interactive way for children to get moving more and incorporate physical activity into their daily routine. Being physically active helps to build strong bones, muscles and a healthy heart and supports the development of social skills which is also in line with the ‘Take 5 steps to Wellbeing’ initiative.”



Johnny McCrystal, Active Travel Officer at Sustrans, Dr Brenda McKay-Redmond, Co-chair of the Daily Mile Network NI and Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at PHA with Groggan Primary School pupils Jude, Fiona and Poppy. 

(Pictured L-R) Johnny McCrystal, Active Travel Officer at Sustrans, Dr Brenda McKay-Redmond, Co-chair of the Daily Mile Network NI and Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies, Dr Hannah McCourt, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Officer at PHA with Groggan Primary School pupils Jude, Fiona and Poppy. 


Cathy Humphrey, Principal at Groggan Primary School, said:


“As a Take 5 school, The Active School Travel programme is one of the best initiatives that we have introduced into our school. Our children love getting outside, and doing challenges like this is very good for their physical and mental wellbeing. Last year, we matched the miles to Everest so we’re excited to mount another challenge this year.


“It’s such an easy initiative and we have noticed an improvement in not only our children’s fitness levels but also their concentration. We are very grateful to our Active School Travel Officer Johnny for coming in and supporting our initiative and to encourage us along our way. We would highly recommend the AST programme to other schools!”



Speaking about the AST programme, Johnny McCrystal, Active Travel Officer at Sustrans said:


“We support schools with the aim of giving pupils the skills and confidence to make more active journeys to school. The Daily Mile is a great way to encourage physical activity and active journeys during the school day. I have really enjoyed working with Groggan Primary to encourage more children to walk, run and wheel to school and in their Daily Mile challenge.”


Pupils from Groggan Primary School taking part in a Daily Mile challenge of matching the miles from their school near Randalstown to Mount Kilimanjaro

Pupils from Groggan Primary School taking part in a Daily Mile challenge of matching the miles from their school near Randalstown to Mount Kilimanjaroo


Colin Hutchinson, Director of Major Projects and Active Travel for the Department for Infrastructure welcomed the Daily Mile initiative. He said:


“DfI’s Active Travel Directorate and its teams are working hard to deliver improved active travel opportunities across Northern Ireland and it’s fantastic to see the pupils undertake this challenge.  I hope their efforts can inspire more grown ups to think about how they travel and leave the car at home more often.


"The Department will continue to work with partners across all sectors to deliver better active travel infrastructure and a range of measures are being implemented to increase this high quality delivery.



"We have recently commissioned a Northern Ireland wide Active Travel Network Delivery plan which, when complete, will provide a firm basis for the prioritisation of the delivery of high quality active travel infrastructure within and connecting our towns and cities, including the provision of improved safe links to schools.” 

 

Dr McCourt concluded: “The PHA would encourage as many families and schools as possible across Northern Ireland to get involved in the Active School Travel programme this year. It’s recommended that children should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day and challenges like these will really help contribute to this.”



Recruitment of new schools to the AST programme is open until Friday 29 September.

 

To find out more and sign up for the Active School Travel programme, visit www.pha.site/ASTprogramme or request an application pack by emailing schoolsNI@sustrans.org.uk

 

For more tips and advice on getting active, visit www.ChooseToLiveBetter.com.

Find out more about the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing at www.pha.site/Take5



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