More than 4,000 pupils now “Smile for a Mile”

More than 4,000 local primary school pupils now make it their mission to walk, jog or run a mile a day.

Just six schools signed up for the West Cheshire Way’s Smile for a Mile campaign when it was launched in March 2016.

But the success of the initiative, which encourages local primary school pupils to be more active and learn healthy habits for life, has since seen numbers snowball.

A further 20 schools have now adopted the scheme as their own. This means 26 schools and 4,421 pupils are now signed up to Smile for a Mile!

Alison Lee, the Chief Executive of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome all the new pupils to the Smile for a Mile family. Participating schools have really taken this initiative to their hearts. So much so that they now both promote the scheme to neighbouring schools and offer peer support.

“The secret to Smile for a Mile’s success is that it is inclusive of all children, no extra kit is required and evidence suggests that a 15-minute break from the classroom to Smile for a Mile can enhance pupils’ school work as well as their health and fitness.”

Delivered via a partnership of NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Active Cheshire, the launch of the West Cheshire Way keep-fit initiative was featured on BBC’s The One Show in March 2016.

Youngsters who have been pounding the playgrounds of West Cheshire from day one were then given the opportunity to suggest their favourite names as part of a naming competition.

Fittingly, Smile for a Mile is an amalgamation of suggestions from not one, but two of the pilot schools – Horn’s Mill Primary School in Helsby and Upton Heath CE Primary School in Chester.

One of the schools, Horn’s Mill, even held an official opening for a new all-weather track, which pupils can use to Smile for a Mile all year round!

Active Cheshire Senior Partnership Manager Duncan Setterington said: “We are delighted to see the growth of the initiative in such a short space of time. Even better is seeing the incredible impact it is having for each and every one of the schools in so many ways.

“Just a year ago West Cheshire was the first place in England to launch an area-wide partnership approach to this programme. We are so proud of the schools for being bold, innovating and leading the way in championing young people’s wellbeing.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Interim Director of Public Health, Helen Bromley, said: “The health of our borough’s children is vital and I’m delighted to see this initiative go from strength to strength in its first year as more schools get involved.

“Most importantly it’s lots of fun. Pupils, and indeed teachers, really look forward to it as part of their everyday routine and everyone can enjoy it at their own pace. I’d encourage schools looking to find out more to get in touch.”

Date added: 24/04/2017

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