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Sheffield Children’s urges action to create healthier future for our children and young people

cycle event at Weston Park
05 November 2021

·        Our own Green Plan outlines our commitment to creating a healthier future and focusing on engaging our people, patients and families.

·        The plan details our ambitions with the overall aim of empowering and educating people to reduce their individual and Trust-wide carbon footprint for future generations.

·        Sheffield Children’s staff, together with other healthcare leaders, rode over 500 miles from London to Glasgow to send a message about climate change and air pollution to world leaders at COP26.

Riders representing Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, as part of a joint initiative with other children’s hospitals across England, have completed their 500 mile cycle ride from London to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow.

30 core cyclists were accompanied by up to 40 others along the mammoth journey, including four cyclists from Sheffield Children’s. Together they delivered the ‘Health Climate Prescription’ to COP26, a document signed by 45 million healthcare professionals worldwide, which calls on world leaders to make air pollution a priority in climate action and sustainable development activities. The document raised awareness of how air pollution and climate change are causing illness and death, especially in children, and how it’s vital we do something to protect the future of children and young people.

The cyclists have all now returned home and colleagues at Sheffield Children’s are keeping up the pace to further protect our people and planet at a local level.

Speaking of the ride, Philip Branford, Environmental & Sustainability Officer, who embarked on the epic cycling journey, said: “It was great to feel like we were physically doing something to highlight the issue of air pollution on children’s health. Action drives action so hopefully this has inspired others to makes changes. Another fantastic thing to come out of the ride is that we have now formed a strong group of NHS healthcare providers who all have a shared goal and can work together to create a legacy and improve the health of the children. I’m excited to see what we can achieve moving forwards.”

In December 2020 Sheffield Children’s launched a Green Plan, with the ambition to be in the top 10 greenest NHS Providers in the country and to support the Trust’s vision to create a healthier future for children and young people

The Trust has made great strides to date in improving its environmental sustainability, including saving over 2 million patient journey miles and over 55 tonnes of carbon through virtual outpatient appointments; increasing our recycling rates by over 6%; reducing carbon emissions relating to waste transport by 57%, and replacing our estates van fleet with pure electric vehicles.

The Trust is also passionate about continuing to sustainably reduce its carbon footprint. As well as continuing to invest in our Green Plan, next steps include focussing on our procurement practices and supply chain; creating our first ever Biodiversity Plan; building relationships with partner organisations in Sheffield to work together to tackle climate change, and improving sustainable travel.

Ruth Brown, Acting Chief Executive of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said:

“I’m so proud of our cyclists and the work they did to raise awareness of air pollution and the harmful health effects on children and young people.  We have to do more and act. We will drive forward the changes we can make as part of our Green Plan to be play our part in the change we need to see.  We would ask others to stand with us and take action to give our children and future generations the best chance of a healthier future.”

five people stood outside Weston Park with bikes


We were honoured to be joined by patient and fundraiser Tobias Weller, who said: “Thanks to all the cyclists taking part, you are all awesome! My advice to you is to try your best, push yourself as hard as you can but, above all, enjoy yourself. When you complete your challenge, you will be chuffed to bits – and so will I!”

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