We’ve recently been successful in an application to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect Community Grants scheme, to support the delivery of the Cycling and Walking to Work fund. This scheme is aimed at community or non-profit organisations, enabling them to provide grass roots support within communities across West Yorkshire, to help different groups’ access employment, training and apprenticeships through active means.
“Shipley Reimagined” seeks to excite the citizens of Shipley with ideas of what their town and neighbourhoods could become with the help of active travel (which basically means getting out of our cars and still getting around!). In stage one it will promote, generate ideas and consult about how residents can create personal and community changes, be better connected to education and job opportunities and achieve greater levels of fitness and wellbeing.
Informed by this process, stage two will involve the provision of cycling resources, events, linking community groups and projects and engaging local employers in actions.
The overall project is to be managed by the Shipley based Norwood Neighbourhood Association and if you’d like to get involved or share ideas, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Dave on 07743471764.
The NNA will spearhead a “Shipley Links” community forum to act as a steering group for the project. The group would consist of representatives from community organisations, local Cllrs, employers, walking bus proponents and existing people already working to improve Shipley.
This group would seek to progress negotiations regarding infrastructure improvements and signage to facilitate better walking and cycling links where need has been identified by members of the community, and to join up and cohere the Shipley Reimagined vision. The project will help identify opportunity, provide support and initiate action; e.g. by facilitating a neighbourhood litter-pick down an under-used shortcut to Shipley train station and requesting a sign to let more people know the off-road short-cut exists. It could also include identifying the best spots for signage to entice cycle commuting via the Shipley Greenway.
In March through to May activities and resources to prepare for cycle commuting in the spring and summer will be made available to residents. Bike and walking ‘buses’ in and out of Shipley and surrounds, depending on the geography of those showing an interest will be initiated. The programme will support secure bike storage facilities and a series of public engagement events during Easter, and running through May, June and July are planned.
Shipley Reimagined aims to realise new potential provided by CityConnect infrastructure development and linking the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. We will also be working in parallel with several active-travel themed projects for maximum efficacy. For example, we will be supporting a bike bus proposed by Capital of Cycling (www.capitalofcycling.org), a Bradford based community group.
1) Establishing Shipley Links steering group with the aim of use local knowledge and networks for the objective of getting residents cycling and walking more often for work and utility.
2) Initial media and awareness campaign with objectives of improving local understanding of the benefits to the community of active travel and reduced local traffic and recruiting participants for the Shipley Links group. “Centre-Parcs Shipley” images and messages to be distributed via local businesses’ social media, leafletting and public display.
3) Norwood Neighbourhood intensive modal shift campaign in February: leafletting, door-knocking, communications via Shipley C of E school with walking and bike bus advertising and timetable distribution. By having an intensive focus on a small number of streets we will be able to measure and see a tangible modal shift. Shipley – Bradford bike bus launches.
4) Information dissemination regarding local cycling routes (including future aspirations and leisure routes) and considerate driving and parking to assist cyclists will be disseminated with an early March campaign, launched with an exhibition and consultation at Shipley Library.
5) In April, bike bus rides will commence to Shipley from surrounding locations that show most interest and along the Bradford Canal Road greenway, up to Manor Lane and then into Shipley. Other bike bus routes from the canal will be considered depending on the geography of those showing an interest.
6) Liaison with the Bike Friendly Business scheme to further bike user groups for local employers.
7) Adequate cycle parking for commuters in Shipley and Shipley Links would pursue this agenda as part of the programme.
8) Practical events, resources and signposts are the next essential ingredients of the behaviour change programme. Events will take place outside Asda, in Shipley Market Square, on the Leeds Liverpool Canal and in Saltaire centre from May through to July. These will operate in partnership with employers, churches and other community groups.
9) During bike week cycling opportunities and reasons for active travel will continue to be promoted to Shipley’s workforce through Sustrans volunteers organising bag packing at Asda, signing up businesses to CityConnect Bike Friendly scheme and a bike breakfast for those who have cycled into Shipley. Working with major employers such as Asda and local bike shops such as Margaret Carey Foundation and All Terrain Cycles these sessions will provide:
- Support for those looking to borrow or purchase a bike
- Dr Bike maintenance
- Advice and resource will be taken from the Capital of Cycling initiative and the Bradford Cycling Campaign for individualised route planning and buddying
- Lunch time learn to ride in liaison/signposted to CityConnect Cycles programme
- Basic bike maintenance training to be signposted where available and provided locally where needed.
Why would people participate?
There are many benefits to engaging a community in active travel which are already well documented by Sustrans, Living Streets and others. Free and fun public events in busy public spaces will help get people involved.
To maximise participation and increase the impact of this vision of how pleasant a place Shipley could be, “Center Parcs” style images of an alternative vision of Shipley will be commissioned and widely advertised – The Headrow in Leeds was “re-imagined” in a similar manner a few years ago. The campaign will be spread using networks such as the existing Shipley businesses’ Facebook pages and accompanied by physical leaflets and postcards along with a display in Shipley Library. Our focus though will be on very localised recruitment for ‘place-making’ with grass-roots, community-sourced ideas for change.
Main engagement/participation themes:
- Air quality and reduced congestion (including faster commutes)
- Healthy workers (physical activity, environmental and mental)
- Improved access to work, education and job opportunities
- Children’s play and improved school run experience for working parents
We would target potential students by arranging bike bus stops near Shipley College and linking adjacent communities, which enables improved access to apprenticeship and training opportunities. We aim to create an increase in the number of adults who are able to drop their kids at school or nursery before and after proceeding to a place of work or training using active travel modes. We would engage these parents via contacts in local schools (Shipley C or E and Wycliffe have both been engaged about walking bus programmes).
The NNA has a strong record of public engagement, having recorded high levels of public participation at its past events and has strong links to other groups throughout Shipley with experience of successful public engagement projects. Shipley Links would be in a prime position to capitalise on this experience.