The accolade, which recognises the efforts of communities and community groups that promote cycling as an accessible and convenient travel choice, was presented to Neilston Development Trust’s Laura Carswell by Keith Irving, Cycling Scotland chief executive, in recognition of the outstanding level of commitment they have shown to encouraging cycling in their local area.
Neilston Development Trust implemented a raft of measures to increase cycling in the area, including putting in place a three year cycling action plan and cementing their role as a key delivery partner for the Neilston Town Charter. The Trust also worked to identify barriers to people cycling locally and activities including led rides to increase confidence, community bike maintenance sessions and the development of a bike library for those who do not have access to a bike were put in place.
Trust volunteers also help to deliver Bikeability Scotland cycle training, in partnership with East Renfrewshire Council, contributing to the delivery of the cycle training programme in 100% of the area’s primary schools.
Laura Carswell, Bike Hub Coordinator at Neilston Development Trust, said: “Neilston Development Trust is delighted to become Scotland’s first Cycle Friendly Community. We’ve made cycling matter to Neilston; from the Trust’s Bike Hub, in partnership with the community and East Renfrewshire Council Active Travel projects right to the heart of the Neilston Charter with its emphasis on people-friendly streets and spaces.
“We’re looking forward to encouraging more people to discover the joy of two wheels and to experience for themselves the wonderful routes, opportunities and services for people on bikes in and around Neilston.”
Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport and Islands said: “The Scottish Government is committed to increasing levels of cycling and walking and are delighted that we’ve been able to support the Cycle Friendly Community Award with Cycling Scotland.
“I congratulate Neilston Development Trust on their inspiring achievements, in a town with only 5500 residents. This is a great example of a thriving community working together to build on their strengths and create a sustainable future for the area.”
Shona Morris, Cycling Scotland development officer said, “Cycling Scotland has worked closely with Neilston Development Trust, both in the pilot project and in working towards receiving the first ever Cycle Friendly Campus Award.
“The Cycle Friendly Community Award is the latest award to join the Cycle Friendly stable alongside schools, campuses and employers. We welcome applications from community groups across Scotland who have placed cycling at the heart of what they do.”
Four pilot projects in the Black Isle, Kingussie, Falkirk and Neilston, all contributed to the development of the Cycle Friendly Community Award, accessing a total of £61,715 to do so.
Community groups interested in gaining the Cycle Friendly Community Award can apply for a development grant of up to £20,000 to help them overcome barriers to cycling and work towards achieving the Award.
The grants, funded by Transport Scotland and administered by Cycling Scotland, will support and enable the delivery of initiatives and projects that will lead to more people cycling in communities across Scotland.
To find out more about becoming a Cycle Friendly Community or to apply for a development grant, please visit www.cycling.scot or call 0141 229 5350.