Top Cycle Location scheme launched

By on 10/06/2013 in Cllr McKay, News

A scheme designed to improve cycling facilities provided by Birmingham businesses was launched with a leading city employer today (June 10).

Erdington-based Interserve, part of the international support services and construction group, was formally given Top Cycle Location (TCL) status - setting a benchmark for other firms and organisation to aspire to in the coming months.

Led by Birmingham City Council, the TCL initiative was designed as a way of supporting organisations citywide to help them meet the growing interest in cycling and demand for related facilities.

As part of the council's Bike North Birmingham project, supported by sustainable travel charity Sustrans and Be Active, Interserve has developed an ongoing programme of measures including the training of Workplace Active Travel Champions, setting up a weekly group ride, offering active travel journey planning to staff, providing secure cycle parking and making available pool bikes for staff to use.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, said: “Interest in cycling is growing rapidly and we need to do everything we possibly can to respond to the public interest because the benefits are enormous.

“Cycling makes participants healthier, helps reduce traffic and offers people a cheap, effective form of travel.

“Top Cycle Location status shows that Interserve is at the cutting edge of developing cycling strategies for its staff and visitors, and the company's work sets a standard for others to reach as this scheme grows. I look forward to the roll of honour expanding rapidly in the near future.”

Under the TCL scheme, employers are visited by experienced officers to look at everything from bike training, basic cycle maintenance and other themed activities such as led rides, to local infrastructure, access and on-site facilities such as parking, signage, showers and lockers.

The officer and the company representative agree a plan of action containing recommendations for both the organisation and the council to implement, documented in a written report.

Both sides can then ensure that the other is doing their side of the bargain and undertaking agreed work with completion of the actions leading to Top Cycle Location status being awarded.

Interserve managing director Ian Renhard added: “This award is evidence of our determination to make a difference to our surroundings and the lives of our employees.

“We are proud to be the first Birmingham company to receive recognition as a Bike North Birmingham Top Cycle Location and will continue to pursue our journey of reducing CO2 throughout our operations.”

After TCL status is awarded, the council will continue to engage with employers to ensure that standards and actions are maintained. A number of other firms are working towards the status and are set to receive their awards in the near future.

Yvonne Gilligan, Regional Director for Sustrans, said: “On June 4 Sustrans launched its Support Cycling to Work Campaign. We are calling on government to create a cycle-to-work standard for all workplaces, to give us the choice of a smarter, healthier and cheaper commute.

“Interserve is a great example of an employer who understands the benefits of supporting employees to cycle to work and it is great that Birmingham have developed their own Top Cycle Location award.

“We hope that employers in Birmingham will support cycling to work and this award will encourage other organisations to follow the excellent example Interserve has set.”

Pictures from today’s award presentation, please visit the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr page.


Notes to Editors

About Interserve

Interserve’s vision is to redefine the future for people and places. We are one of the world's foremost support services and construction companies, operating in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally. We offer advice, design, construction, equipment and facilities management services for society’s infrastructure. Interserve is based in the UK and is listed in the FTSE 250 index. We have gross revenue of £2.3 billion and a workforce of over 50,000 people worldwide.

About Sustrans
Sustrans makes sustainable travel choices desirable, possible and inevitable.  We're a leading UK charity enabling people to make informed decisions about the journeys they make: to school, to work, for shopping and for leisure.  We work with communities, families, workplaces, partners and policy-makers to encourage people to make healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys so that everyone has better places and spaces to move through and live in.  It's time we all began making sustainable travel choices.

About Bike North Birmingham
In April 2011 Birmingham City Council bid to the Government's new Local Sustainable Transport Fund for Bike North Birmingham. In July 2011 £4.1M was awarded for a four year programme of new cycle routes and supporting cycling activities aiming to take cycling to a new level and help improve the environment, the local economy and health and fitness in the process.

Bike North Birmingham wants to get more people cycling in and around the Erdington and Sutton Coldfield areas. Whether to school, the shops, work or to visit friends, Bike North Birmingham gives people an alternative option to car travel that is fun, healthier and cheaper.

Working directly with schools, local workplaces, rail stations and in our dedicated bike hubs, Bike North Birmingham will give practical advice, information and support; everything cyclists need to get bike smart and confident.  They will also deliver the infrastructure, developing existing dedicated cycle routes and creating more.

Bike North Birmingham is a Birmingham City Council project delivered in partnership with Sustrans and BeActive.

Discover a world of fun, fitness and freedom… it's as easy as riding a bike.

About Be Active
The Be active scheme was initially called Gym for Free and was launched in February 2008 in the Ladywood Constituency to 100,000 residents as a joint initiative between NHS Heart of Birmingham tPCT and Birmingham City Council.

Gym for Free offered free swimming, fitness classes, and gym sessions to all of the residents of the constituency as long as they exercised at least 4 times per month. There was no upper limit to the number of times they could attend exercise sessions and the only other criteria was residency within the constituency.

By November 2008 the scheme was rolled out to the rest of the Heart of Birmingham PCT area, some 300,000 people.

The scheme continued to prove successful and won a number of awards for tackling health inequalities and also social marketing.

Discussions began with the three PCTs across Birmingham to see if there could be a city wide offer for residents using the Gym for Free pilot model.

On 1 September 2009 the scheme went live to all 1.1 million people in the city. The scheme was renamed Be active and all 50,000 members of the Gym for free scheme were transferred across.

The scheme now also provides classes at community centres and other venues that aren't leisure centres to ensure as much access to the community as possible.

For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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