Portsmouth schoolchildren make their healthy lifestyle demands as part of 'superzone' trial
CHILDREN at one city school are leading the way to create happier, healthier lives for everyone with their demands for a community-minded 'superzone' - which will not include a blanket ban on takeaways.
Pupils at Arundel Court Primary School in Landport, in Portsmouth, have laid out their priorities for a trial scheme - to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles as well as improve air quality and community safety.
When the trial was first approved by Portsmouth City Council in September 2019 the idea that new takeaways could be banned from opening within 400 metres of the school was one suggestion, in a bid to combat obesity.
However, following further consultation with parents, children and the community it was agreed this would not be beneficial.
Year 3 teacher Lydia Grant, Arundel Court's lead for the superzone project, said: 'It's really nice that the four strands of healthy eating, active lifestyles, air quality and community safety have come from what the children originally wanted.
'Originally it might have been centred around obesity but actually the children also wanted to focus on other things, and those things combined could still have an affect on obesity levels.'
Arundel Court is the first city school to trial a superzone, which will run until January when its success will be considered. Other schools could then take on their own superzone projects.
Miss Grant added: 'They are engaged with it.
'It's not just about getting children outside more, it's also about taking them to new places. Some children only really know Landport, which is quite a built-up area.
'We've had school trips where they've asked if they need a passport for places like Winchester. We hope to take them to more places in the city to show them how they can be active in different ways and places.'
One of the first steps of the superzone would have been to announce the winners of a non-smoking poster competition, which would then be displayed outside the school. However, this has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Other steps will include working with shops and restaurants to ensure healthy options are available and educating children and their families on what a healthy diet should contain.
Portsmouth council's health and wellbeing boss, Councillor Matt Winnington, was looking forward to seeing the superzone in action. He said: 'The really important thing about the superzone was it works for the community it's for.
'It's not about the council imposing. It's great that these ideas have come from the children.'
School streets, where part of a road is closed to through traffic during school opening and closing times to encourage walking, will also be considered as part of the scheme.