Celebrating five years of school Active Travel hubs

30.04.2024 | jemma

We are celebrating five years of its school-based active travel hubs, marking a significant milestone for the innovative education programme that has inspired teenagers, teachers and the wider community to lead more active lives.


In 2019, FEL pioneered Scotland’s inaugural school active travel hub at Lornshill Academy with funding from Paths for All’s Open Fund. Five years on, the Alloa based high school is reporting cycling rates nearly seven times the national average for secondary schools (9% vs 1.3%).

Since launching its first school-based hub, FEL has successfully expanded the project across four more secondaries in Forth Valley. Funds from Paths for All’s Active Nation Fund have enabled the charity to open hubs at Alloa Academy, Bannockburn High, Balfron High and Larbert High.

Project co-ordinator Jodie Murdoch said: “With the introduction of Balfron High and Larbert High to the programme late last year, we’re strengthening our commitment to making daily walking, cycling and wheeling more accessible for all.

“Our hubs are strategically situated within secondary schools with the aim of not only transforming the travel culture within the school community, but also reaching and influencing the catchment primary schools and the broader community.

“As community anchor institutions, our high schools play a pivotal role in promoting healthier modes of travel and nurturing a shared ethos of environmental stewardship and wellbeing.”


To lead this transformation, FEL has assigned a dedicated full-time project officer to each school, as Jodie explained:

“Our school hub officers lead a diverse range of daily activities, including guided rides and walks, outdoor health and wellbeing sessions, bike maintenance classes, active travel taster sessions, nature walks, primary transition work, and even skateboarding!

“These opportunities to be more physically active have been extended to the wider community too through our Community Bike Library and Community Skills Academy.”


One of the programme’s biggest success stories is the positive impact on young people with complex and significant needs; with the five school hubs offering dedicated ASN sessions.

Bannockburn High Principal Teacher of Pupil Support, Lorna Shepherd said: “The students supported by our service are really excited about the Active Travel Hub. They look forward to their sessions and always return with interesting stories to tell.

“The Hub’s alternative teaching style has had a big effect, helping students overcome difficulties they might have had in regular classes. Now they approach learning with enthusiasm and are keen to collaborate with the Hub team.

“We’ve also seen an improvement in attendance from students who used to find traditional schooling challenging, thanks to the fun and practical sessions the Hub offers such as the SQA in bike maintenance.”

Praising the project during recent visit to Bannockburn High School’s hub on 19 April, Council Leader Chris Kane said: “We know the significant health and wellbeing benefits of walking, cycling and wheeling so it’s fantastic to see our young people at Bannockburn High and other schools embracing FEL’s active travel hubs.

“It’s vital we change our daily travel habits to more sustainable modes of travel, not only to encourage people to live healthier lives, but to help reduce carbon emissions and protect our natural environment for future generations.

“FEL’s innovative programme is giving our young people and school communities the support, confidence and learning to make that transition, and it was great to come along to Bannockburn High and see some of the activities taking place at the hub.”


FEL is now optimistic that the model’s success will attract further funding, enabling the charity and it partners to roll it the programme out to schools across Scotland.

FEL Executive Director, Clara Walker said: “We’re currently working with over 4,000 young people, so just think of the potential for people and planet if this tried and tested model was to be scaled up.

“We warmly invite schools and local authorities interested in learning more to reach out to us.”

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