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New cycling facilities help staff to work in rural Dumfries

New sheltered bike storage and shower facilities will help staff and volunteers at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Caerlaverock centre to cycle to work.

After applying for Cycling Friendly Employer development grant funding, a programme funded by Transport Scotland and delivered by Cycling Scotland, the Dumfries-based Wetlands centre was able to install shower facilities, a dedicated changing area and secure, covered bike storage. Now staff and volunteers can cycle to work, freshen up and change once they arrive, and store their bikes in a safe and rain-proof space throughout the day.

Lucy Smith, Head of Sustainability at Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, says the new facilities will help to address inequalities and transport poverty: “When we recruit people, they tend to need access to a car because some of our sites are so rural in their location. Having these facilities now means you don’t necessarily need a car – you can ride a bike here! If someone doesn’t drive or can’t afford a car, they previously probably wouldn’t apply for a job with us, but now we can further promote our cycling friendly culture which opens up work and volunteering opportunities for more people locally.”

The Caerlaverock Wetlands Centre has now achieved the Cycling Friendly Employer award – a nationally-recognised award which celebrates those organisations working hard to encourage cycling by providing workplace facilities and committing to improving staff health. Working towards the award helped to generate discussions between staff and volunteers on the benefits of cycling, and what would make people more likely to cycle to work – helping them to decide which facilities to focus their funding application on.

Faith Hillier, Engagement Officer at Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, has now caught the cycling bug: “Having a covered area to lock up my bike was really useful and along with the new shower and changing area, it really encouraged me to cycle the nine miles to work. I hadn’t cycled much before but have since cycled to work regularly and have really enjoyed it. I’ve also started exploring my local area on the bike at weekends.”

John Higham, Cycling Friendly Employer Development Officer at Cycling Scotland, says: “Employers can apply for up to £25,000 from our Cycling Friendly Employer fund to install cycling facilities that will encourage staff to travel to work by bike. Promoting cycling can support a happier, healthier workforce and enhance corporate social responsibility. 

“Over the past year of lockdown restrictions, our network of automatic cycling counters recorded a 47% increase in cycling across Scotland. Employers could benefit from embracing this massive interest in sustainable transport – cycling to work has been proven to reduce employee stress, increase health and wellbeing, and create financial savings.

“Creating a cycling friendly workplace will help employers to play their part in tackling the climate emergency and show support for a green recovery from the covid-19 pandemic, and we’d encourage any organisations interested to get in touch.”The Cycling Friendly Employer fund is now open and accepting applications, subject to available funds. Find out more here. Community groups, secondary schools and social housing providers can also apply.

Regional Press: Dumfries & Galloway