Funding boost to support more people to walk and cycle this summer
Combined Authority secures £1.35million to deliver more support to increase active travel across West Yorkshire
Residents and businesses across West Yorkshire are set to benefit from increased access to active travel provision after the West Yorkshire Combined Authority successfully secured £1.35 million from the Department for Transport’s (DfT) new Capability Fund, following a submission to government in April 2021.
Communities across the region will receive a boost in support, with 56 community organisations receiving funding to deliver a broad range of cycling and walking activities. These projects aim to help those worst affected by COVID-19 to become more active and help socially isolated people feel confident to be part of their community as restrictions are lifted.
Businesses and schools are also set to benefit. More grants will be available to employers to become more walk and cycle friendly, through the Combined Authority's 'Bike Friendly Business' offer. Organisations who participate in the scheme typically see a 20% increase in staff cycling to work.
Support to help school children walk, cycle and scoot to school will be widened to pre-school age children for the first time through the Combined Authority's CityConnect programme, dedicated to enabling more people to travel by bike or on foot.
CityConnect's comprehensive free cycle training offer will also be expanded and extended to become more inclusive. The training will offer support to people with disabilities to travel more actively as well as family cycling sessions, which are due to start in parks across West Yorkshire this summer.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire said:
"My pledge to you as Mayor is to tackle the climate emergency and protect our environment.
"The ability to travel safely and more often by bike, and on foot is part of the bigger transport plans we have to reduce carbon emissions in West Yorkshire and one of the easiest ways that people can make sustainable travel choices, every day.
"This funding will help provide more to support even more communities, businesses and schools, opening access to cycling and walking routes, helping residents overcome barriers and connecting communities with opportunities for work, training and leisure."
The new funding will also enable the Combined Authority to continue developing Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs) across the five West Yorkshire districts.
These plans are being developed through engagement with communities across the region and will set out where future investment in cycling and walking measures should be made. They aim to create safe routes and more space for people to make more journeys more actively, with significant positive impacts on health, air quality, congestion and quality of life.
Case Study: Hop on and go: Meet Zahida Rafiq, newly enthusiastic cyclist - trained from scratch
Huddersfield primary school teacher Zahida Rafiq had wanted to learn to ride a bike for some time. She’d tried in the past with the support of her family but never got fully up to speed. She finally made her cycling breakthrough in 2020, thanks to cycle training from community cycle group HopOn Bike.
In the summer of 2020, HopOn Bike provided a programme of free adult cycle training funded by CityConnect’s Community Grants scheme. Zahida tells us how she got involved with the programme, and how she’s developed her confidence on two wheels with the ongoing support of the group.