AIREDALE NHS Foundation Trust is among organisations supported by a scheme designed to encourage more people to cycle to and from work.

Since the launch of the Bike Friendly Business grant initiative, more than 20 organisations have shared awards totalling over £100,000.

The support is provided by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, through its CityConnect programme.

Last summer the authority and partner councils secured £2.5 million from the Government’s active travel fund and began working with businesses and communities to enable more people to cycle and walk.

The support given to Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, which was match-funded by Bradford Council, helped it increase its secure bike parking for employees.

David Moss, managing director of the trust estates company AGH Solutions, said: “We are delighted the Bike Friendly Business scheme was able to support our work to improve bike storage facilities at Airedale Hospital.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic and the emphasis on health, more staff are cycling to work rather than using cars and public transport.

“We have undertaken surveys with our cyclists which show that secure storage is one of the most important elements to enable people to cycle to work. We encourage our employees to cycle to the hospital because of the health benefits and to reduce carbon emissions. 

“The support from this scheme has enabled us to install far more facilities than we thought possible with our available budget.”

Among those utilising the facilities is Dr David Driver, a consultant in emergency medicine at the hospital.

He regularly cycles to work from his home in Burley-in-Wharfedale.

“I’ve moved around quite a lot with my work and when it came to settling more permanently in the area it was important for me to have easy access to the Yorkshire Dales but also an enjoyable commute to work,” he said.

“The commute offers me great views of Wharfedale and Airedale and is very relaxing. If I’ve had a busy, stressful day I try to make the most of my ride home by taking a longer route.

“Also, by not using a car, I’m reducing the potential stress of driving in heavy traffic and trying to find a parking space.”

Councillor Kim Groves, chairman of the combined authority’s transport committee, said the scheme was “proud” to be able to support the trust.

She added: “Through our CityConnect programme we have continued to invest in enabling more people to travel by bike and on foot, which has been crucial in meeting the transport challenge created by the pandemic.

“A move to active travel can also significantly boost people’s health and wellbeing and we’re particularly proud to have supported Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, making cycling a more attractive option for key workers there. We’re pleased to continue offering our Bike Friendly Business scheme into the new year.”

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