21 Nov, 2014 Last updated: 07 May, 2015

The Community Engagement Team at the City of Ballarat prepared a set of 30 reward cards and a full coloured booklet as an incentive for students to walk to school more regularly throughout Term 4.

This case study addresses Requirement 2: Run local Walk to School engagement activities with participating schools throughout October

Walk to School reward cardsEach card featured local professional sporting identities and local students playing sport, and the booklet featured an endorsement from local Olympic marathon runner, Steve Moneghetti, encouraging students to walk to school.

Sixty thousand cards featuring 18 different sports were printed and distributed through the ten primary schools that registered to be part of the Walk to School 2014. Each time students walked to or from school during October, they earned a card to place in their Let’s Walk Ballarat booklet.

Information about local sports clubs was also included in the booklet, to promote the vast array of physical activity opportunities available to students in the Ballarat area. Local community sporting clubs and parents assisted in developing and implementing these reward cards as they could see the benefit of promoting active travel to school.

The suggestion for the incentive cards came from one of the participating schools. The photos for the cards were collected through liaising with sporting clubs, representatives and parents. Collection of the photos and photo permissions was the most time consuming part of the project. The booklet helped to get sporting club information out to students and their families, and hence gain support for the project through those clubs.

Walk to School Case Study

The students were very motivated by the cards, particularly because the cards featured the familiar faces of local children participating in sports and activities through clubs and groups in the area. The parents and sporting clubs were all very supportive of the project. 

The key challenges of this project were encouraging buy-in from teachers, who needed to find time to administer the activity on a daily basis, and collecting the photos for the cards, which required a lot of work with partners to source a wide range of sports images. 

However, these types of projects are always a good opportunity to strengthen ties with sporting clubs and schools. The City of Ballarat integrated the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan with the Council Plan in 2013, so active transport and promotion of healthy behaviours and supportive infrastructure has been integrated into priorities across Council. 

The promotion of walking and cycling has being elevated with the imminent release of a long term land use planning document which has focussed on active transport as an integral role within a 10-minute city concept. The Walk to School program has taken on an important role as a key example of behavioural change in the development of a Sustainable Transport Strategy.

In 2014, the City of Ballarat maintained strong school participation rates established in 2013, and saw an increase of more than 400 local students participating in Walk to School, compared to the previous year. 

See all Walk to School case studies