New sustainable travel grant scheme for workplaces launched in Dorset
Cycling UK has partnered with Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) and Dorset councils to deliver a new grant scheme aimed at supporting workplaces to encourage active, sustainable travel.
Businesses across south east Dorset have been invited to apply for grants of between £500 and £20,000 to spend on facilities that will help encourage employees to cycle to work or adopt other sustainable methods of travel. A total of £115,000 has been made available for employers in the region.
To receive funding, it's a requirement that businesses demonstrate their long-term commitment towards cycling. To ensure this, Cycling UK's Cycle Friendly Employer (CFE) Accreditation scheme will be used as the official benchmark against which workplaces are measured; a Bronze accreditation is the minimum for a successful application.
The grant scheme is established as part of the Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) programme, which was set up to reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by offering people alternatives to travel in safer, greener and more active ways.
This grant scheme is a fantastic way to support businesses in improving their facilities for active commuters. Businesses demonstrate a long-term commitment to gradual and continual improvement by taking part in the Cycle Friendly Employer Accreditation
James Palser, Cycling UK's project manager for the Cycle Friendly Employer Accreditation
Applications are open to businesses to help install or improve 'trip end facilities'. These can include bike parking and storage, showers, lockers, bike repair stations, outdoor bike pumps, clothes drying facilities and electric bike charging points.
Many of these facilities not only encourage cycling, but also benefit those who may want to walk or run to work, even if the activity covers just part of the journey.
James Palser, Cycling UK's project manager for the Cycle Friendly Employer Accreditation, said:
"This grant scheme is a fantastic way to support businesses in improving their facilities for active commuters. Businesses demonstrate a long-term commitment to gradual and continual improvement by taking part in the Cycle Friendly Employer Accreditation.
“Our support will enable staff and customers to travel actively and sustainably, embedding active travel within the culture of the company for years to come."
The benefits of active commuting
Active commuting to work can benefit businesses in many ways.
A healthy workforce is more productive, as staff members take fewer sick days, and supporting employees to look after their own fitness while saving money on travel costs keeps staff happy, resulting in lower staff turnover. Enabling workers to make the choice over their commute will help attract and retain the best talent.
The accreditation also demonstrates that sustainability is among the core values of a business, signalling that it wants to lead the way on environmental issues. In the long term, a workforce commuting sustainably can save a business money, and it will also reduce the organisation's carbon footprint.
Coucillor Mike Greene, BCP Council's portfolio holder for transport and sustainability said:
"This is a great opportunity for local businesses to show their support for sustainable travel and help us to reduce local traffic congestion, something which we know costs them both time and money.
"It also makes sound business sense for companies to encourage their employees to take up active travel, not just in terms of a healthy workforce and a reduction in the company's carbon footprint, but also because people who take regular exercise on their way to work are more alert and productive during the working day."
Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council's portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment said:
"It is not just local companies that will benefit from these grants. Many working people have told me that they would love to cycle or walk to work as they wish to support the environment, but there aren't any facilities at their workplace, such as lockable bike storage, lockers or showers.
"By offering these grants, we are encouraging local employers to provide these facilities and in doing so, provide a more attractive place to work, thus helping with their staff recruitment and retention."
Should my business sign up?
Applications for the grant scheme are open until 9 March 2022. Similar schemes have been extremely popular and oversubscribed, and all grants will be awarded through a competitive application process. If your business is in south east Dorset, visit BCP Council’s website to find out more.
As part of the CFE accreditation process, workplaces receive a comprehensive report showing the areas they excel at, as well as those where there is room for improvement.
To find out if your business is eligible for the CFE accreditation, you can complete a quick, free self-assessment form to give you your current score.