Birches PS’ Eco Kids campaign for footpath

Birches Primary School Eco Team
Birches Primary School Eco Team

Budding movie directors and the committed Eco Team at a local primary school have launched a video highlighting serious safety issues close to their building.

Birches Primary School is in a rural hamlet outside Portadown and has only a short stretch of footpath on the Clonmakate Road, leading to the school.

A new Eco Team launched the special video entitled ‘Our Footpath Dilemma’ which highlighted the dangers pupils face.

In a delightful storytelling format, the pupils have been photographed at various parts of the road leading up to the school.

Clever graphics and simple story telling gets across the difficulties faced by pupils, young and very young as well as their parents and staff.

It portrays how the footpath starts to disappear not far from the school building. And their simple demand is to have a proper footpath to make it safe for everyone to walk to school.

A private development had recently built a short footpath along part of the route. This made it safer for part of the route.

Unfortunately it wasn’t long until the new footpath stopped. This was the unsafe route left for the children.

The pupils had to walk in single file on the road and had to be supervised by an adult.

Now the Eco Team are spearheading a campaign. They asked: “Can the government turn their frowns upside down and give them the footpath they so desperately need?”

Backing their campaign is Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty who spent the morning with her Ulster Unionist colleague MLA Doug Beattie at the school to hear their desperate plea for a foopath.

She said: “I feel very proud of the pupils who have a strong community spirit and great campaigners!

“They have shown a great deal of determination and perseverance.

“They have decided to take on a government department and will not let it go!

“We were more than happy to go out to visit them last week - who could have said no to the multitude of letters we received.

“I have written again to Transport NI. I have been told I will receive a reply mid November.

“I will keep writing to them, and have invited them to come with me out to the Birches. If they won’t come to us at the Birches, we will bring a delegation from school to them.”

A Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “We are aware of the excellent work done by the Eco team at the Birches primary school in raising awareness of their request for a new footway. In addition to the social media work I can advise that the Department has received a number of letters in the past week from public representatives in the area backing the request for a footway. We will be considering the request carefully before we can respond fully to the correspondence.”