Active Travel: Funding Available for Local Businesses, Schools and Community Groups
Businesses, schools, and community groups in North Somerset can access support for their active travel initiatives, thanks to the Department for Transport’s Capability Fund.
The grants are available to companies, schools and community groups in North Somerset who want to start incentivising active travel. The money is being provided by the Department for Transport’s Capability Fund which aims to support a range of travel behaviour change and infrastructure initiatives in 2022.
Businesses, schools, and other organisations can apply for 50 per cent match funded grants up to a value of £3000. Match funding means the funding will be paid in proportion to the investment you make yourself.
Ready to apply? Application forms available here.
What is Active Travel?
Active travel is all about turning the everyday journeys we all have to make into opportunities for exercise. It involves choosing to cycle or walk to work rather than get in your car or take the bus. Active travel reduces your carbon footprint as it doesn’t require fossil fuels – all you need is yourself, and maybe a bike! That means you’ll be limiting your resource use, saving money, increasing your fitness, and even spending time in nature – all before you get to work. Incorporating physical exercise into your daily routine makes a great target for anyone this January, helping you boost your overall health, become more productive, and even lower stress levels.
What Can the Grants Be Used For?
The grants are there to support onsite initiatives in workplaces, schools, and other regular destinations that aim to remove barriers to active travel. Barriers that prevent people from choosing to walk or cycle include not having any washing facilities at work, no secure bike storage, and a lack of cycle routes nearby.
North Somerset Council say they are particularly seeking applications from projects near sections of the area’s new active travel infrastructure. They will be prioritising initiatives that aim to boost use of the new shared use paths and traffic calmed areas, or the planned Pier to Pier section of the National Cycle Network Route 33 between Weston-Super-Mare and Clevedon.
Importantly, the grants will not cover VAT and the projects must be finalised by March 2022. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, so it’s best to apply as soon as possible.
To help ensure organisations make the most of the funding, North Somerset Council is also committed to supporting businesses, schools, and local groups through the following behaviour change activities and offers.
- Free bike and e-bike hire for adults.
- Free cycling confidence training.
- Free bike stands for businesses.
- Free Dr Bike mechanic visits to workplaces.
- Bike maintenance courses.
- Free e-bike hire for businesses.
- Sustainable Travel Roadshows for workplace events.
- Schools Engagement Officer support.
- Free access to Active Travel Plan software.
- Active travel challenges and prizes e.g., Love to Ride.
Benefits of Active Travel
Regular physical activity is integral to health and wellbeing. For schoolchildren, exercise helps support growth and development and reduces the risk of obesity. For adults commuting to work, making the most of opportunities to exercise mitigates the impact of our largely sedentary lifestyles. And promoting active travel has benefits for employers too, including reduced absenteeism and lower health care costs.
It is generally recommended that everyone aims for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise per day, but many people are not managing to fit this in. Opting to walk or cycle to work or school rather than drive or use public transport is an easy way to make regular physical exercise part of your daily routine.
When we exercise, our brain releases endorphins. This combined with the mood boosting benefits of spending time outdoors leads to reduced levels of stress and anxiety all round. And a better mood means higher levels of productivity and focus. Opting to walk or cycle to work can help employees perform better at work, and children learn more effectively.
Cycling offers a low cost way to travel, and walking is entirely free! When you compare that with the price of fuel or train/bus fares, it’s easy to see how active travel can save you plenty of money in the long run.
Improved Air Quality
Short journeys such as those to work or too school tend to release CO2 at a faster rate. With less cars on the road, your local area is likely to see a significant improvement to its air quality. Aside from the implications for our respiratory health, pollution can also severely impact the local environment.
Workplace Health Tips
If you’re on the hunt for ways to boost your workplace health and fitness, here are some of our top tips. Incorporate some or all of these ideas into your daily routine alongside active travel, and boost your wellbeing inside and outside the workplace.
- Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of water during the day; the NHS recommends around 6-8 glasses.
- Stretch – Regularly stand up and stretch to improve circulation and reduce fatigue.
- Eat Healthily – Eat a nutritious breakfast, prepare a healthy lunch for yourself, and opt for healthy snacks throughout the day.
- Regular Breaks – Take breaks from your screen every so often, and consider going for a walk during your lunch hour.
- Posture – Make sure you’re sitting comfortably and try and reduce strain on your spine and neck.