young kids cycling


Published 27 March 2023 at 4:00pm

Pupils will pitch plans to improve cycling, walking and wheeling at schools across South Yorkshire in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event judged by triple Olympic cycling champion Ed Clancy, OBE. 

Having developed active travel plans for their schools, aspiring secondary school students will go in front of a panel for the cash to turn their ideas into reality. 

Experts from Active Travel England, The Bikeability Trust, Living Streets and Local Authorities will join South Yorkshire’s Active Travel Commissioner to hear about the creative measures schools are taking, under Modeshift STARS Active Travel Ambassadors programme, to cut car use. 

South Yorkshire’s Active Travel Commissioner, Ed Clancy OBE, said: “Some of my happiest memories from my childhood were simply being involved in active travel. I first fell in love with two wheels because it was an enjoyable way to get to school and a tool to meet mates at the weekend. 

“Now, without a doubt, the best thing about retiring from professional sport is helping others to experience cycling, walking and wheeling for themselves. It’s my priority to improve South Yorkshire’s active travel network for this reason, to break down both physical and mental barriers that prevent children and adults getting involved. 

“That’s why initiatives like Modeshift’s Active Travel Ambassadors programme are so important, and I’m truly inspired by all the pupils, schools and partners involved.”

Funding will be provided to schools in the Modeshift Active Travel Ambassadors programme, including Brinsworth Academy, Wath Academy, Wales High School, Oakwood High School, Newfield, Silverdale, Astrea Academy and Bradfield.

Ross Butcher, Modeshift Chair said: ‘The Modeshift Active Travel Ambassadors programme empowers secondary school pupils by giving them the skills and confidence to tackle travel issues in the school community. What the pupils at this event have achieved here is a great example of this - together we’re setting these pupils up to carry these active travel habits into their adult lives’. 

Emily Sykes, Active Travel Ambassadors Programme Manager said: ‘By working in partnership with the Bikeability Trust and with the fantastic support of the Local Authorities, the Active Travel Ambassador programme has been a great success at all of the schools here today. The Ambassadors involved have embraced the opportunity to have their voice heard and are committed to making a positive impact in their school community, making people think differently about how they choose to travel. They are working incredibly hard to promote the benefits of walking, cycling and wheeling, acting as active travel role models to their friends and peers and leaving a legacy in their school community.”

Ed Clancy - triple Olympic cycling champion, multiple World and European champion – was appointed as South Yorkshire’s Active Travel Commissioner in February 2023 to improve the region’s walking and cycling networks, so everyone feels safe and able to walk or cycle.

Notes to editors

Media are invited to the Modeshift STARS Active Travel Ambassadors programme – ‘Dragon’s Den’ event on 28 March from 09:00 – 12:45 at Sheffield Town Hall. Please register attendance at Interviews are available upon request.
‘Dragons’ on the judging panel include Ed Clancy, OBE - Active Travel Commissioner for South Yorkshire, Edwina Woodland-Fowkes – Living Streets, Louise Sanders – Bikeability, Leigh Bramhall – Counter Context Director, Kat Harrison – Sheffield City Council Senior Transport Planner. The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards will also attend to present the cheques.

About Modeshift STARS Active Travel Ambassadors programme

Schools that participate in the Active Travel Ambassadors programme receive expert support from Modeshift to help pupils create a travel plan for the school before bidding for funding to deliver their ambitions. This can include Bikeability cycle training for pupils and Dr Bike cycle maintenance classes to get more pupils cycling and walking to school. 
Events are being held across the country and mark the end of the programme which started in September 2022. 
There are 55 Active Travel Academies across the country.
All 7 schools have the full £250 available but the judges decide how much they will receive. The only school not at the event is Astrea who cannot get cover for the trip on the day.
Modeshift Active Travel Ambassadors Regional Coordinators

Stephanie Lake (South West)
Keith Woodward (East of England)
Jason McAleese (North Yorkshire East Riding of York)
Chris Pryor (South and West Yorkshire)
Alice Dale(West Midlands)

About Modeshift 

Modeshift is a not-for-profit membership organisation that exists to increase levels of active and sustainable travel in business, education and community settings.  
Over 800 industry professionals are registered with Modeshift representing the public, private and third sectors.  
Modeshift works to raise standards of industry delivery, including establishing a national standard for Travel Plans, sharing best practice, and recognising excellence amongst its Members, Partners, and Supporters.  
Modeshift STARS 

Modeshift STARS empowers organisations by providing a centre of excellence for developing, delivering and monitoring effective Travel Plans. 
Effective Travel Plans are vital for a healthier, greener, and safer future, as they promote and enable more sustainable and active modes of travel. 
Modeshift work with thousands of businesses, education, and community settings across the UK to improve Travel Plan standards, share best practice, and award Modeshift STARS accreditation.



Last Updated: 31/03/2023

Published In: Business and Growth, Active Travel, Featured