Promoting sustainable transport and introducing initiatives that support employees to find greener ways to travel to work is an ambition for many organisations.
The initial cost of establishing and implementing sustainable transport schemes can be a barrier for many businesses which is why Go Smarter - Tyne and Wear’s sustainable transport programme - has launched a successful matched funding initiative to support businesses in facilitating travel behaviour change in the workplace.
Organisations enrolled in the Go Smarter to Work Business Engagement Programme are able to apply for matched funding - to a maximum of £5,000 - to introduce a sustainable transport or flexible working scheme for its employees.
Research has shown that people who have an active commute to work have fewer sick days and are more productive. Sustainable commutes also offer wider environmental and economical benefits.
Businesses across Tyne and Wear have already taken advantage of the scheme with many reporting significant changes in staff travel habits.
intu Eldon Square, one of the largest city centre shopping destinations in the UK, worked with Go Smarter’s matched funding programme to introduce improved internal conferencing facilities. Richie Williamson, Operations Coordinator at intu Eldon Square said: “By improving our ability to effectively communicate with our head office in London, we’ve reduced the need for staff to continually travel to the capital for meetings and also reduced the requirement to provide off-site training and development. This very simple change has made a huge difference to staff output and efficiency.”
The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust used its funding to install an electric charging post at its office on Newburn Riverside, Newcastle. Clare Swift, Environmental & Sustainability Manager at North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: “The electric charging post enabled us to loan demo electric vehicles and use them as pool cars. We potentially have a place for electric vehicles in the emergency services which is why we have applied for the OLEV funding to enable us to test electric vehicles effectively for two years and plough on with fitting more charging points at strategic locations across the Trust. The funding has helped us start a conversation around the potential importance of electric vehicles in the sector.”
One of the Tyne and Wear’s flagship Universities has also benefitted from working with Go Smarter. Newcastle University used the matched finding programme to increase awareness of Go Smarter initiatives amongst staff and support cycle infrastructure on campus. Rebecca Allen, Sustainability Officer at Newcastle University said: “By working with Go Smarter we have been able to increase staff engagement with greener travel which has helped raise the profile of the University’s wider sustainability agenda. Our Go Smarter to Work Breakfast Mornings were a fantastic way introduce people to the activity available on campus.
“Moving forward, we want to use the remaining funds to improve the cycle infrastructure on campus and support the growing number of cyclist at Newcastle University.”
Other successful projects made possible by Go Smarter’s matched funding include brand new shower and changing facilities at the Homes & Communities Agency and home working equipment at Zeco Energy and marketing agency Gardiner Richardson.
Go Smarter’s SRO Nick Clennett, Head of Transport Strategy Development and Enterprise at Gateshead Council, said: “By removing the barriers to sustainable travel we can encourage more businesses and staff to adopt new ways of commuting into work.
“Simple solutions like providing shower and changing facilities can be all it takes to give people the impetus to try new modes of travel. By making the choice as easy as possible we can start to see real change.
“Providing staff with access to flexible working is another popular scheme that can boost productivity and ease congestion on our roads. Go Smarter’s matched funding scheme has already had lots of success stories and we’d love to see more across Tyne and Wear.”
To find out more about the Go Smarter Matched Funding programme and to see if your organisation is eligible, please email firstname.lastname@example.org