News

North of Scotland Campaigners’ Day – book now!

Our northern Scotland campaigners’ day is now open for booking! Saturday 29th September 11-4

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The elections may be over for a while, but #walkcyclevote continues! With the Scottish Government ‘Programme for Government’ announcement in September 2017 doubling the active travel budget it has never been more important to work together to ensure that investment pays off.

For some of us, that means carrying off the balancing of supporting new (and possibly controversial) initiatives from the powers that be – while still continuing to hold them to account. For others, it means making sure our local areas don’t miss out or get left behind in the dash for active travel money. Either way, campaigners old and new will need new skills and new ideas as we move into a potentially exciting future.

Join us in Aberdeen at the Coffee House with Aberdeen Cycle Forum and BikePaths4UnionStreet for the second in a series of localised training and networking events to share and learn from campaigners and organisations across Scotland who are working to transform their local areas – and our country. Book now – it’s free, but spaces are limited so don’t risk missing out.

Programme

10.30 Refreshments available

11 Welcome, introductions and programme

11.10 Setting the scene – funding is now available, but is there a need to change local political and public mindsets?

11.30 Local campaign in Scotland – what’s working for walking and cycling (Lizzie Reather, Cycling UK Scotland)

12.15 Short (5 minute) presentations from local groups

12.45 Local issue discussion in groups (Part 1) – What need to be changed?

1.15 Lunch and networking

1.45 Round up of creative campaigning techniques and how they have been used (Sally Hinchcliffe, Pedal on Parliament)

2.15 Local issue discussion in groups (Part 2) – How can change can be acheived?

2.45 Short (5 minute) presentations from local groups

3.00 Panel discussion

3.30 Next steps – action planning

4.00 Close

The event is free to attend but we are unable to provide lunch on our small budget – there’s a cafe downstairs!

When it comes to cycling infrastructure, communities really can do it for themselves

Sustrans Scotland’s Community Links programme now makes it easier for communities to not just campaign for better infrastructure, but also to have a hand in developing it. In this guest blog, Charlotte Otter of Sustrans explains more:

Communities up and down Scotland are daring to dream and thinking big about how their neighbourhoods can and should be improved to make it easier and safer to walk and cycle – and there is now funding available to make these dreams a reality.

From identifying local routes and networks, which can make it easier and safer to travel actively, to boosting local economies by creating vibrant and attractive places for people to visit and spend time in, local community groups have the power to make significant and positive differences to the lives of people living and working within them.

Through Sustrans Scotland’s Scottish Government funded Community Links programme, community groups and developments trusts have the chance to apply for up to £2million of funding for schemes aimed transform town centres and neighbourhoods into more attractive, accessible and people-friendly public spaces that make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle for more of the journeys they make every day.

Up to 100% of funding is available through the programme towards the design and feasibility of projects that encourage walking and cycling and up to 50% of match-funding for the total construction cost of a project.

Meanwhile, through our Safer Routes to School programme, funding is available to community groups to support infrastructure developments around school catchment areas and clusters to make it easier and safer for pupils to walk, scooter and cycle to school safely.

A major characteristic of these two programmes, which set them apart from other grants, is the support, guidance and enthusiasm that Sustrans is able to offer to community groups and development trusts. We are experts in helping to develop walking and cycling infrastructure and are on hand to support successful applicants to develop aspirational designs and strategic projects that put walking and cycling at their heart.

And, by working with Sustrans, you have the opportunity to access expertise from our Schools, Communities, Workplaces and Behaviour Change teams, as well as Research and Monitoring and Communication teams helping to better realise a project’s ambitions.

Muthil to Crieff path opening
The Muthil to Crieff path on its opening day

One such example is a project carried out by Perthshire’s Muthill Village Trust, which saw the creation of a 1.5km surfaced path stretching from the outskirts of the village of Muthill towards nearby Templemill. The path offers active travel opportunities for the whole community and is the first stage of a link which will eventually connect Muthill with Crieff via a 6km route using off-road paths, quiet country roads and a bridge over the River Earn.

Getting community backing is the best way of tapping into the wealth of local knowledge and expertise; it encourages dialogue and collaboration and – crucially – buy-in from right across the community for schemes, often resulting in schemes that are much better for everyone

Whether it’s the creation of green spaces, new walking or cycling routes, safer junctions and routes to schools or the widening of existing routes to improve access to local shops, businesses and public transport, we want to support and empower to local people to come together and really influence how their neighbourhood can develop and flourish.

Find out more about setting up your own community group

South of Scotland Campaigners’ Day – book now!

Our southern Scotland campaigners’ day is now open for booking! Saturday 8th September, 11 – 4

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The elections may be over for a while, but #walkcyclevote continues! With the Scottish Government ‘Programme for Government’ announcement in September 2017 doubling the active travel budget it has never been more important to work together to ensure that investment pays off.

For some of us, that means carrying off the balancing of supporting new (and possibly controversial) initiatives from the powers that be – while still continuing to hold them to account. For others, it means making sure our local areas don’t miss out or get left behind in the dash for active travel money. Either way, campaigners old and new will need new skills and new ideas as we move into a potentially exciting future.

Join us in Kilmarnock with the South Ayrshire Paths Initiative for the first in a series of localised training and networking events to share and learn from campaigners and organisations across Scotland who are working to transform their local areas – and our country. Book now – it’s free, but we can only accommodate limited numbers in the venue so don’t risk missing out!

We’re still working on a few additional speakers but the programme at the moment looks as follows

Programme

11 Welcome, introductions and programme

11.10 Setting the scene – funding is now available, but is there a need to change local political and public mindsets?

11.30 GoBike and how they are working to help transform Glasgow for walking and cycling (Iona Shepherd, GoBike)

12.30 Local issue discussion in groups (Part 1) – What need to be changed?

1.00 Lunch and networking

1.45 Round up of creative campaigning techniques and how they have been used (Sally Hinchcliffe, Cycling Dumfries)

2.15 Local issue discussion in groups (Part 2) – How can change can be acheived?

3.00 Panel discussion

3.30 Next steps – action planning

4.00 Close

The event is free to attend but we would welcome a contribution towards the cost of lunch and venue to make our small budget stretch further

Save the date! Campaigners’ days for the south and the north

Save the dates – we’re holding two one-day campaigners’ workshops to reach those who can’t make it easily down to the Central Belt …

On Saturday 8th September we’re joining forces with new Walk Cycle Vote supporter the South Ayrshire Paths Initiative – this will be held at the Killie Browser at Kilmarnock Station and should easily reachable by those in Dumfries and Galloway, Ayrshire, and also Glasgow.  More details here – including how to book.

Then on Saturday 29th September we’ll be in Aberdeen (at the Coffee House) with BikePaths4Aberdeen and the Aberdeen Cycle Forum. More details here – including how to book.  Original campaigners' day

Our campaigners’ days in Edinburgh and Glasgow have proved to be great networking and knowledge sharing events, helping build a community of people across Scotland who want to make things better for active travel. We’re still working on the details – but this is the schedule we had for our last event in Glasgow. Whether you’re a seasoned campaigner, or just want to see some change, they’re a chance to learn new skills, meet new people, and get energised for the battles ahead!

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Campaigners’ day – presentations

Thanks to all of you who came to the Campaigners’ day last weekend – we felt it was a really positive day full of energy and enthusiasm and we hope everyone else who came along did so too! If you missed it (or just want to relive the moment), GoBike have put together a great roundup of some of the tweets which give a real flavour of the day.

If you missed it – or if you were interested in one of the workshops you couldn’t get to – we’re posting the presentations and notes here as the speakers send them in.

Community Links/Plus – Matt Davis, Sustrans
Space for People Byres Road: introduction to the campaign –  street designsvisualisationscampaign graphics
5 Go Mad in Mini Holland: lessons from London for Scotland – Sally Hinchcliffe, Pedal on Parliament
A Thousand Words – Iona Shepherd – Using images to give your event even more impact

Place Standard tool – John Howie, NHS Organisational Lead
Running a councillor tour – John Donnelly, Go Bike
Psychology of change – Brenda Lillicrap
Local Authority Cycling Strategies – Matt Davis, Sustrans
Long game campaigning – Drem Gullane Core Path Campiagn

If you don’t see one you’re particularly interested in, let us know and we’ll try and chase it up

 

Campaigners’ Day rescheduled: now 31st March

Update: Due to the snow, this event was postponed until Saturday 31st March (Easter Saturday).  There’s still time to book your free place, whether you were booked on the original one or not

Don’t miss out! We’re holding our third annual Walk Cycle Vote Campaigners’ Day on the 31st March in Glasgow – a great opportunity for anyone who’s keen to do more to support active travel in Scotland. It’s a chance to learn new skills, share ideas and network with other people who are passionate about improving conditions for walking and cycling.

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We’ve got some great speakers, but it won’t all be just sitting and listening; there are two breakout workshops giving you a chance to get your hands on and discuss issues in smaller groups. Note that if one or two of them prove oversubscribed we will aim to repeat those. 

Whether you’re already a veteran campaigner, are just starting out, or are wondering whether it’s all for you, please do sign up – it’s free (although a donation to cover lunch would be appreciated).

10.30 Registration
10.45 Welcome – Anna Richardson, Glasgow City Council
11.00 Community Links/Plus – Matt Davis, Sustrans
11.30 Break – tea/coffee (help reduce impact on the environment – bring your own mug or keep cup)
11:45 Workshops:
• Using graphics to visualise better street designs – Space for People Byres Road
• 5 Go Mad in Mini Holland: lessons from London for Scotland – Sally Hinchcliffe, Pedal on Parliament
• A Thousand Words – Iona Shepherd – Using images to give your event even more impact.

12.30 lunch

1.00 Air quality, health and cycling – Emilia Hannah, Friends of the Earth
1.30 Place Standard tool – John Howie, NHS Organisational Lead
2.00 Workshops:
• Running a councillor tour – John Donnelly, Go Bike
• Psychology of change – Brenda Lillicrap
• Local Authority Cycling Strategies – Sustrans
• Long game campaigning – Drem Gullane Core Path Campiagn
2:45 Break – tea/coffee
3.00 Panel Q&A
3.30 home

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Attendees at the first campaigners day in 2016

Taking it to the streets

One of our goals for We Walk, We Cycle, We Vote this year was to promote more positive campaigning that gets ideas out of our social media bubbles and out into the real world. Sometimes this can be a substantial effort, such as our Firestarter Festival Popup Park (of which more later) – but sometimes it can be as simple as a stencil, some chalk, and a little bit of overnight action.

This Valentine’s Day we joined forces with Walk Cycle Vote supporters the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, GoBike, Cycling Dumfries, Bike4Good and a few assorted volunteers to ‘love bomb’ some of our favourite bits of cycling infrastructure with a (temporary and ecologically friendly!) “Insert Loved one Here” #ILOH heart tag .

The point was to highlight the benefits that the best quality infrastructure brings – the routes you’d be perfectly happy to see any of your loved ones using, young or old, fit or not.

It didn’t have to be something big – sometimes a couple of well placed dropped kerbs make all the difference

And if it triggers a bit of friendly rivalry between cycle campaigns (and councils) then all to the good …

The campaign was inspired by the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, whose online “Insert Loved one Here” tool launched last year to highlight the dangers of poor quality cycling infrastructure. Go Bike then took the campaign out onto the streets of Glasgow, with striking effect:

But we wanted to make sure that we didn’t just complain about the things we didn’t like – we need to be clear about what we do like. And both Go Bike and Cycling Dumfries took up the baton despite snow and freezing temperatures.

Thanks to everyone who ventured out on a baltic night to spread a little infrastructure love! And if you missed the fun, don’t worry – you can take part online with the updated version of the Cycling Embassy tool, which now lets you flag up the best conditions with a positive heart …

Even if you might have to cross the North Sea to find the very best examples

By the way  if you’re interested in refreshing your campaigning skills, sharing ideas or networking with other campaigners, then do sign up for our Campaigners’ Day in Glasgow on Saturday March 3rd.  More details to follow!

Shine a Light: Help us reimagine our city streets

Over the past century we’ve gradually seen our streets taken over, not just by traffic, but by the need to store parked cars. We’re so used to this, we barely notice the huge amound of space that parking takes up – acres of effectively dead space spread right across our towns and cities. If we want to rebalance our streets to meet the needs of everyone – and particularly children – then we have to start reimagining what we could do with all this public space. And what better way to do that than to actually take over a few of those parking spots and transform them, if only for a day?

parking

On Friday February 9th we’re taking part in the Firestarter festival which runs across Scotland celebrating creativity in public life. We’ll take over four parking spaces on Regent Road, outside St. Andrew’s House in Edinburgh- to turn an unpromising stretch of the A1 into a lively space for people. We will bring the pop-up park: some grass (well, astroturf), benches, fairy lights and greenery. All we need are the people to help to reanimate the space. If you can provide some sort of event (music, dancing, tai chi, games – you name it, as long as it can be fitted into four parking spaces) that would be fantastic. Otherwise why not drop by and see what’s going on? It could be anything from hula hooping to a human pyramid. Anything, indeed, but space for storing private cars.

 

 

 

 

Labour leadership – an update

Now that voting is open for the leadership of Scottish Labour and both candidates have announced their manifestos, where do they stand on active travel – and have they responded yet to our letter?

We haven’t had a direct detailed reply yet, but we have had a response from both on Twitter – and both manifestos do mention active travel

First up, Richard Leonard (because he was the first to respond) who tweeted:

Active travel does make it into the very last paragraph of his manifesto, and suggests he will increase investment and explicitly mentions infrastructure, although there are no real specifics:

“Support methods of ‘active travel’ such as walking and cycling through more investment in our transport infrastructure. Not only will encouraging more people to walk and cycle reduce carbon emissions, it helps contribute to a healthier society.”

Anas Sarwar wasn’t far behind, tweeting:

His manifesto also leaves it right to the end, but explicitly promises to increase active travel’s share of the transport budget:

“We will re-regulate Scotland’s bus system to save lifeline routes, and fight for public ownership of ferry services. We will create a loan fund to encourage councils to consider municipal bus services, modelled on the success of Lothian Buses, and increase the proportion of the transport budget spent on Active Travel.”

If you’re a member of the Labour party and want to know more about the two candidates’ policies, please do get in touch with them directly – the more they hear about active travel during the campaigns, the more they will understand that it’s not just an afterthought – it’s key to such things as health inequality and childhood health, both of which they emphasise in their policies.

And whether you’re a member of the party or not, do please get in touch with your MSPs because there is a debate next week on active travel. Let them know what points you think are important at this crucial time, as the government prepares to spend the extra investment it has promised. Both Spokes and Pedal on Parliament have some thoughts on this that might help.

 

 

Join us in Glasgow this Sunday

Short notice – but please join us this Sunday for a small celebratory event to mark the government announcement that it will be doubling spending on active travel. We will be gathering outside the SNP conference at the SEC Centre at 3pm for a celebratory ringing of bike bells, and presenting the transport minister Humza Yousaf with a thank-you slice of “rocky road” cake, in recognition of the fact that investment in better infrastructure for cycling and walking is set to be doubled from £40m to £80m per year.

Although this is by no means the end of our campaigning journey, this year’s Programme for Government marked an important milestone on the road to an active Scotland and we wish to positively welcome it.

Join us if you can, with your family, and feel free to wear whatever campaign-group t-shirt, hoody or hat you belong to, to mark the diversity of our collaborative campaign, and to celebrate the many different organisations that have contributed towards this moment.

SEC gathering