Sustrans Scotland has launched a support service to help third sector organisations encourage walking, wheeling and cycling in marginalised communities
The benefits of walking and cycling for more everyday journeys are well documented – a 2017 study showed that regularly cycling to work reduced the incidence of cancer by 45% and heart disease by 46%. However, evidence shows that people from marginalised communities are less likely to use active travel to get around their local area.
Transport poverty is a big factor in this – for those on low incomes, the cost of public transport can be prohibitive and result in social isolation, as people cannot afford to access services.
As well as those on low incomes, transport poverty is disproportionately likely to affect those who live in rural areas, people who are time poor, such as parents and carers, and groups which experience inequality – especially older people, disabled people, women and people of colour.
To help address this, Sustrans have launched the Community Active Travel Support Service (CATSS), which aims to help third sector organisations encourage walking, wheeling and cycling in marginalised communities.
Who can apply?
– Community organisations who wish to set up an active travel project (or develop an existing one) focusing on people in areas in the lowest 10 and 20% of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
– Community organisations who wish to set up an active travel project (or develop an existing one) aimed at a specific group which experiences inequality (e.g., older people, disabled people, people of colour, women etc)
What does it involve?
Staff and volunteers of organisations who sign up will receive 3-6 months of in-depth support to set up or develop initiatives that will encourage more people in their community to walk, wheel or cycle more.
If required, organisations taking part will also be able to access free training in skills such as fundraising, community engagement, evaluation etc, to develop the capacity of their organisation.
Caro Kemp, Project Officer at Sustrans Scotland, said:
“I started cycling in 2006 when the local bus company increased their fares considerably.
“I was working in the evenings stacking shelves at a DIY store three miles away and wouldn’t have felt safe walking that distance in the darker months.
“A friend gave me an old bike they didn’t use and suddenly I could get to work safely, and was saving money too.
“Today’s cost of living crisis has meant that many people are finding that getting to work is a lot more expensive than it used to be.
“Cycling may not be the best solution for everybody, but the CATSS programme aims to make sure that local community organisations have the support they need to help as many people as possible get to the places they need to go – safely and without breaking the bank.”
To find out more and apply for help from the CATSS programme – click here.