Our Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund has distributed just over £5million in grants to create more opportunities to walk or cycle for short, everyday trips and use public or shared transport for longer journeys.
Since the fund launched in 2018, projects the length and breadth of Scotland have received grants, and, since the summer, funds have also been available to support home working arrangements to reduce the need for daily commutes.
Managed by us and supported by the Scottish Government’s Active Travel budget, the Open Fund aims to cut Scotland's carbon emissions, improve air quality, reverse the trend towards sedentary lifestyles and tackle health inequalities by offering grants to public, community and third sector organisations with ideas about how to change travel behaviour.
Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity said
It is welcome news that 200 local transport projects from the third sector, community organisations and public agencies have been supported through the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund.
This year, the scheme is helping to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, funding projects which support home working and reduce the need to travel - helping to keep space on public transport for people who need it most.
It’s great to see the range of innovative transport projects have been funded right across Scotland to help people choose walking, wheeling, cycling and sustainable options for everyday or multi-modal journeys. I’m grateful to Paths for All and the many organisations working hard to improve our public health, our wellbeing and respond to the climate emergency through sustainable and active travel initiatives.
From creating e-bike clubs and new walking groups to developing public transport apps and pedestrian safety campaigns, grants have been used in imaginative ways to get Scotland travelling more actively. Projects also include new Buggy Walks, walk, cycle and scoot to school campaigns, travel advice for students, a shopping bus for volunteers, and shared travel schemes for workers.
Funds have also been used to create more than 60 new jobs.
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All said: “Each of these projects has found new ways to encourage people in Scotland to walk, cycle or use sustainable transport. They have not only played their part in helping people become happier and healthier but are also helping to protect our environment from harmful emissions at this crucial time and I congratulate each and every one of them.
“Awarding 200 projects is a brilliant achievement and definitely worth celebrating, but we look forward to awarding many more grants. I’d encourage other public, community, and third sector organisations to use this fund - and the expertise and guidance of our team - to help them make their active and/or sustainable travel project ideas a reality.”
One of the most recent Open Fund grants was awarded to Scottish Borders Council. The £58,000 award will subsidise bus travel for local NHS workers over the winter. Working with Borders Buses and other operators, it is hoped the funding can support up to 13,000 day saver bus tickets.
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Infrastructure, Travel and Transport, said: “We were delighted to work with our partners NHS Borders and local bus operators to secure this funding which will support key workers in the health service to use sustainable transport at a lower cost.
“We are also pleased to be one of the 200 awards made by Paths for All from their Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund and look forward to seeing more projects of this kind supported in the coming years.”
For more information on how the Scottish Government is working to build an Active Nation, visit www.transport.gov.scot/activenation
Full details of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund, including information on previous awardees, is available at https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/open-fund
To see all 200 projects, click here.