Staff at Stagecoach North East’s north east depots have helped to drive forward the environmental agenda as part of the north east’s Green Week activities, including visiting local primary schools, planting gardens and supporting healthy eating and exercise for its staff.
Hundreds of pupils from primary schools in South Shields, Sunderland and Stockton-on-Tees enjoyed a visit by Stagecoach North East bus drivers and buses for the Green Week ‘Teaching Tuesday’ campaign. The young eco warriors, aged from three to 11, learned about the green energy that modern buses use, with the latest in ‘eco’ technology taking passengers all across the region, and how they help to improve the environment that they live in.
The youngsters from nursery to year six were able to explore the buses, taking turns to be bus drivers, sitting in the driver’s chair and tooting the very loud horn! The bus drivers also gave out green goodies to the pupils, including recycled bags and pens.
At St Marks Elm Tree Primary School in Stockton-on-Tees, 10-year-old Ellie, said, "It was really interesting on the bus. I liked how the front seats were positioned so that disabled people could get on and off easily and sit down comfortably. We learned about how the bus uses less fuel and therefore saves energy and we talked about ways to save energy at home by turning lights off."
Mrs Gilhespy-Swan, assistant head teacher at St Mark's Elm Tree Primary, said, "It has been a lovely day for all the children. The younger children enjoyed sitting in the driver's seat, while reception children learned about keeping safe on bus journeys and the older children found out about the eco aspects of the bus."
Youngsters from Stanhope Primary School, Mortimer Primary School and Harton Primary School in South Shields were also treated to a journey around the town on a vintage 1964 Daimler double decker bus.
At Stanhope Primary School, around 195 children were able to explore the 1964 Daimler double decker bus. Year 2 pupil Holly, aged 7, said: "It was not boring, it was very fun!"
John Vasey, Headteacher at Stanhope Primary School, said: "It was an exciting day for the children and staff and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves!"
4-year-old Luke, a pupil at Mortimer Primary School, said: “It was great, the bus went very bumpy, I loved it upstairs.”
Brenda Catchpole, nursery teacher at Mortimer Primary School, said: "The children enjoyed every minute. Not many of our children get the opportunity to ride on a bus, so they were all very excited.”
Staff from Stagecoach North East in Newcastle flexed their green fingers and moved their muscles in activities undertaken as part of the local bus operator’s annual campaign.
At the bus depot in Walkergate, depot cleaner, Paul Penaluna and Martin Foster, bus driver and eco-champion, worked hard to develop a ‘green’ space outside the depot building for staff to relax and enjoy, with raised plant beds and colourful flowers now in bloom.
With plans to develop and extend the patio area, including seating for staff to enjoy during the warmer months, employees are already benefitting from the green space and seeing the difference in a matter of weeks.
Employees also took the ‘green’ high road when they participated in the ‘Midday Mile’, a national campaign to get people out of their offices and workplaces to walk, jog or run a mile over lunchtime.
To end the week of energy saving and environmentally friendly promotions and activities, the company offered healthy snacks to all staff for ‘Fruity Friday’, so they could enjoy a healthy treat throughout the day, with the peelings and cores composted.
Phil Medlicott, Managing Director, Stagecoach North East, said: “Stagecoach’s annual Green Week is an important awareness campaign which we are keen to support in our local community and at our depots The teams were delighted to show children across the north east how eco-friendly our buses are and visiting the schools offers a great opportunity for youngsters to think’ green’, which we actively encourage throughout the year through our school and community competitions.”
Schools in the area were also sent activity sheets to complete during half term. The company encouraged the young ‘eco warriors’ with a list of tasks; including waste recycling, litter picking and walking instead of travelling by car, with prizes for the schools with the best results.
During Green Week, the depots took part in a number of activities to raise awareness among staff and customers, including walking or cycling to work and handing out free smart card wallets to customers.
This year the Green Week theme was ‘Green Sky Thinking’, which aimed to raise awareness among staff and customers about the need to continue to develop new ideas to tackle climate change.