Forth Valley celebrates first birthday of active travel fund

Paths For all birthday

Forth Valley celebrates first birthday of active travel fund

A multi-million pound fund that aims to get people out their cars and travelling sustainably has celebrated its first birthday in Forth Valley.

The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund was launched in June 2018 and has so far awarded over £1.9 million worth of grants to 87 projects across Scotland that increase walking and cycling opportunities or encourage people to use public transport.

To celebrate the anniversary of the fund which is supported by Transport Scotland, the fund’s managers Paths for All joined organisations from the Forth Valley where over £340,000 worth of grants were awarded in the last financial year.

Those attending the meeting in the Forth Valley College, Falkirk Campus board room, included Forth Environment Link, NHS Forth Valley, Recyke-a-Bike Stirling, Braveheart, Falkirk Delivers, Active Schools Falkirk, Lornshill Academy, Clackmannanshire Third Sector Interface, local councils, and Forth Valley College which hosted the event.

Graham McQueen, senior development officer with the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund said: “Since its launch, our fund has supported projects all over Scotland, but a high percentage have been in the Forth Valley area.

“In 2018/19, grants worth £343,184 went to projects working in Falkirk, Clackmannanshire and Stirling. We are working with some amazing organisations across the Forth Valley, and between them they run an incredible variety of projects all looking to encourage and support people to choose more sustainable types of transport for their everyday journeys. 

“More than any other area we see these organisations in the Forth Valley working together in partnership and this is something we want to encourage across Scotland.

“We’re looking forward on building on the success of the first year, and supporting many more projects to increase walking, cycling and sustainable travel in the year to come.”

Pauline Donaldson, Forth Valley College’s Soft Services and Sustainability Coordinator, said: “We were delighted that Paths for All asked Forth Valley College to host their first anniversary meeting. We are really looking forward to helping to celebrate the excellent work that has been carried out so far and look forward to continuing our partnership with Paths for All in the future.”

The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund aims to encourage people to change their behaviours to walk or cycle for everyday short journeys.

It also encourages people to use sustainable travel choices, including buses, trams, trains and car share clubs for longer journeys. The Open Fund is available to public, third and community sector organisations and aims to help cut Scotland's carbon emissions and improve air quality.

A wide variety of organisations have already been successful in attaining grants including 47 charities, nine colleges or universities, seven social enterprises, seven regional transport partnerships, two health boards and two local authorities.

Grants have also funded 28 jobs created by active travel hubs across Scotland.

A second round of funding is now open, and grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 are available.

For information on how to apply for a Smarter Places, Smarter Places Open Fund grant, visit https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/active-travel.

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