School sets big cycle trail target
Tawa is getting behind Hampton Hill School as it raises funds for its new cycling track.
Board of Trustees member Jill Day said she was inspired by the success of the Bikes in Schools programme adopted by Titahi Bay School and planned to implement it at Hampton Hill in the coming year.
‘‘We’re hearing amazing stories about the growth in the children’s confidence there,’’ she said.
‘‘They’re figuring out that falling off your bike and getting back on is part of life.’’
The project will cost up to $70,000. Requests for help have gone to parents, and for funding to Wellington City Council.
One offer from a parent was teaching children to service the bikes.
‘‘We thought we could even go a step further with some of the children, to get them to be part of the process of servicing bikes, and understanding how they work.’’
Hampton Hill School principal Kelly O’Leary said the programme fitted in with what the school was trying to do.
‘‘ We want healthy, engaged children and we want children to risk-take,’’ she said.
The recently completed Tawa Valley Pathway had created a ‘‘ gorgeous pathway’’ through Tawa for people to cycle.
‘‘Our hope is that children can learn to ride here [at school] in a safe enclosed environment and then get out there.’’
Launched nationally in 2010, Bikes in Schools aims to get children cycling again, as well as teaching essential safety skills.
Titahi Bay School was the first in Wellington, and principal Kerry Delaney said it had made a big difference.
‘‘[Bikes in Schools] is the best thing I have done as a principal,’’ Delaney said. ‘‘ We have a triathlon every year and now all our kids can ride a bike.’’
Thirty-five schools around the country have adopted the programme, which requires buying bikes, helmets, and a riding, pump and skills track.
Schools say the increased exercise means healthier students who are learning better in the classroom.
Hampton Hill School principal Kelly O’Leary, left, and board of trustees member Jill Day stand on the field where the track is to be built.