Local Links case studies

Read some of the success stories of Suffolk businesses that have made a positive contribution towards giving their employees more travel options.

Local-Links-Scene.jpgOver the past few years we've seen a move away from greener travel being an issue that was not taken seriously, to a realisation that if you don't consider it to be a normal way of travelling you're probably burying your head in the sand!

Successful businesses now plan for sustainable travel, in advance of the need to implement change to mitigate risk.

Below are some of the success stories of Suffolk businesses that have helped to give their employees more travel options; and in doing so have encouraged staff to cycle to work on a regular basis.

Click each of the sections below to find out more about their efforts:

  • Type of company: Provider of social housing across the eastern region
  • Location: Bury St Edmunds
  • Number of staff: 197
  • Website: www.havebury.com

Local Links provided Havebury Housing with travel packs to Tenants who have barriers with travel and finding employment. These free packs included all areas of sustainable transport. Included in this are twitter pages and useful website links, made accessible for anyone to go on-line to find all the information needed to travel actively.

When meeting Lisa from Havebury Housing, she stated, "Active travel is hugely important to our Tenants. Especially if they have barriers getting to and from work or appointments. Having alternative options to the car is imperative. This also helps Tenants to become involved in their local community."

Lisa explained how she thought Bury St Edmunds has a good transport network. But stated that the main issues lie with those Tenants living in villages, and don't always have those regular transport links. Which is why the travel packs are vital.

Lisa goes on to say, "We give our Tenants the Local Links travel pack if they state that transport is a barrier for them. Not only just to work, but even if it's to the doctors, dentist or to an appointment. We also explore different travel avenues now that we have the packs, such as the walk it routes, or Suffolk Car Share. This makes a great difference to Tenants, and enables us to hand this out in one simple pack.

  •  How many passengers do you take: 1
  • How many miles is your commute (one way): 14
  • How many days a week do you car share: 3

When asking Nikkita how she decided to start car sharing with her colleague, she explained, "We had been friends when we worked together previously. When I found out that she was transferring to Bury St Edmunds, I immediately asked if she wanted to lift share."

Nikkita also explained how there is free parking for staff at the front of the Job Centre. However, this is on a first come first serve basis. "Since I have childcare issues, by the time I get there, there are no longer any spaces. The free parking behind the Job Centre is on a length of serve basis. Luckily for me, my car share buddy has been working for the Job Centre for over 30 years, so she gets a space."

Nikkita also mentioned that she enjoys the company and the extra money. She added, "My friend gives me £3. Initially, this was to cover cost of parking if we had to pay, but she continued even after she got a permanent space."

Car sharing is a great way to cut your petrol and parking costs, and to reduce car parking pressure at your workplace. Sign up to Suffolk Car Share for free. You can either register as a driver, passenger or both. Follow us on Twitter @SuffolkCarShare

  • Location: Bury St Edmunds
  • Number of staff: 20

Local Links have engaged with the Job Centre in Bury St Edmunds to provide their staff and Job Centre users with useful free information regarding active and sustainable travel to interviews and jobs. Late last year, Local Links took part in the Jobs Fair, where we provided personal travel plans for the Job Centre users and relevant information tailored to the individuals needs of travelling to work. Recently, Local Links have also been taking part in the jobs clubs and working with the Job Centre to overcome the transport barriers that some Job Centre users have.

When asking Alison how important active travel to work is for the Job Centre users, she said, "This is crucial. Especially due to the rural locality of some people. It is also great for their mental health. Especially if they are at home all day with little money. Getting out in the fresh air to commute to an interview or a job is a healthy step."

Alison also stated, "Some Job Centre users don't have buses that run through their local villages, or that don't run during school holidays. As a result of that, they are heavily reliant upon neighbours or friends. The free active travel help sheets and posters are a great help."

Since Local Links provided the Job Centre with active travel help sheets, the employees have been able to hand these out to members of the jobs club. The posters have been displayed so that anyone who is interested sustainable travel, have access to websites and twitter accounts.

Alison finished by saying "The active travel help sheets are extremely helpful. Many of the Job Centre users didn't know about the free information and websites available. It has also helped the staff gain a wider knowledge of green travel."

 edited alison and nikkita

  • Type of company: Cycle shop (Incl.  café, cycle maintenance, cycle hire and 1 mile training circuit)
  • Location: Hawstead,Bury St Edmunds
  • Number of staff: 5 full time, and also part time staff
  • Website: www.magliarosso.co.uk

Maglia Rosso has taken advantage of the gap in the market in Bury St Edmunds, of not only having their own cycle shop, but having the added extras of a built in café, cycle maintenance and a 1 mile training circuit on the field next door.

Formally a derelict pub, Barry Denny (the owner) and his son took over the building two and a half years ago, turning it into a cycle shop. Barry states, "It's a very unique bike shop and country café. People can park up and then cycle outside of Maglia Rosso if they wish. We sell maps of cycle routes also which people can use."

Barry felt that the training route, cycle hire and café, gave locals an active and engaging sport to take part in. Whether this is a one off purchase, cycle hire, or a regular cycle ride which Maglia Rosso puts on weekly, everyone is welcome.

Maglia Rosso offers, 'Two Hour Tours, Tuesdays @ Ten'. This is a ride which is on-going, approximately 25-30 miles, averaging a steady pace of 13/15 mph- everyone welcome. The second ride is 'Mandy's Breeze Rides'. These rides are aimed at female cyclists who enjoy a gentle ride around the lanes. This ride aims to suit all abilities, and aims to cover 15-20 miles. There is no charge and parking is free if you come by car.

Barry is looking to get showers installed using the Travel Plan Grant Scheme. The scheme provides local organisations with up to 50% match funding towards the cost and installation of initiatives to support healthier and greener travel. Looking to the future, Barry has a view of attracting cyclists from all over East Anglia and in a few years, thinks of expanding.

Maglia Rosso Cafe outside

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"I heard about Bury Local Links in the Mercury Newspaper, and thought the pre-work walks were such a good idea, so I thought I would come along" Says Andrea.

She then came along to our morning pre-work walks in May and said how refreshing it was walking before work and meeting new people.

Andrea cycles or walks to work, and has noticed that a lot of cycle parking in Bury is getting busier. She adds, "It's so much quicker for me and cheaper. I'm never late due to traffic and it's such a low impact commute that I don't feel tired once I get to work. I feel there is definitely a reduction in stress having not been sat in traffic."

Andrea stated that it's incredibly important doing an active commute, noting her stress levels are much lower and she feels happier when arriving to work having not been sat in traffic.

"Sometimes I feel like other methods like taking the bus takes longer, and personally for me it's faster to cycle."

Andrea's advice to others who don't currently walk or cycle is, "if you have a bike that is just sat in your shed, just try it the once and you'll see how quick and easy it is to ride to work, if you live close enough that is."

Wanting to encourage others who currently don't have an active commute to work and who live close enough is something that Andrea wants to achieve in the future.

 

  • Type of company: Provider of social housing across the eastern region
  • Location: Western Way, Bury St Edmunds
  • Number of staff: 180
  • Website: www.havebury.com

Employees at Havebury became more interested in cycling to work after a successful attempt at the 2013 Suffolk Cycle Challenge. Nearly a quarter of their workforce took to their bikes, with the challenge also taken up by non-cyclists and by those who had not cycled for decades. Many have continued to commute in this way.

The 10,000 Steps challenge also had a remarkable response, with over 50% of the employee team walking to work, and again, many have continued to do so. The challenge became very competitive to clock up the steps, many people even walking to colleagues’ desks to speak rather than emailing!

Last year Havebury applied through the Travel Plan Grant Scheme and received 50% funding towards 3 pool bicycles and 1 electric bicycle. The organisation aims to get more employees engaged in alternative means of commuting. They are intending to allow members of the workforce to take the pool cycles home for evenings and weekends, in an attempt to encourage cycling and increase confidence in taking up cycling.

As an added commute option, an internal car-share scheme has been initiated and is starting to become successful, with 2 directors leading the way and sharing their work-day commute.

Havebury is also in the process of devising an incentive scheme where monthly prizes can be won by those taking a greener travel option.

Havebury feel there are many benefits to employees taking a greener commute option, including financial and health benefits as well as the social benefits of car-sharing or cycling and walking partners. Havebury also benefits by having a team of employees that are healthier and have increased well-being.

The involvement in the Cycle Challenge and 10,000 Steps also encouraged a competitive spirit and team building. Some employees have become champions for the active commute by encouraging others in their team to take part – and creating a snowball effect. The take up of greener modes of transport also addresses the issue of complaints that the car park space is not sufficient!

  • Type of company: Public Transport
  • Location: Ipswich
  • Number of staff: 190 (including drivers, engineers and support staff)
  • Website: www.ipswichbuses.co.uk

Ipswich Buses not only promote sustainable travel across Ipswich, but also to their own staff.

As part of their core business, the company participates in various sustainable travel campaigns including Walk to Work Week, In Town Without my Car Day, and also provides flat rate fares on Ipswich Town match days to encourage people to use the bus.

In addition to encouraging bus use amongst the general public, Ipswich Buses also want to support staff in choosing travel by sustainable modes for the commute to work. Many shifts run from early morning until midday, then midday until around midnight, so staff need to travel before buses start and after buses finish, meaning that many have to drive to work.

In order to help encourage more people to cycle, Ipswich Buses used the Travel Plan Grant towards installing a new shower. Following this, and the promotion of the project internally, a number of staff also requested that cycle stands were provided at the Tower Ramparts bus station, stating that they would be able to cycle to work if there was somewhere to leave their bicycles.

This investment by Ipswich Buses, supported by the Travel Plan Grant, will help increase the number of staff cycling to work both at the depot and to the bus station.

Ipswich Buses report that employees have also benefited from the 10% cycle discount voucher. Cycle maps have also been provided and are now available at the depot. The Sustainable Travel Information provided information on cycle training and bike maintenance workshops, which are being promoted to staff new to cycling.

  • Type of company: Building Contractor
  • Location: Elm Farm Park, Thurston, Bury St Edmunds
  • Number of staff: 22 staff based at head office
  • Website: www.seamans.co.uk

O Seaman & Son Ltd has taken advantage of the Travel Plan Grant Scheme to acquire match-funding towards new shower and changing facilities at their premises in Thurston, Bury St Edmunds.

Glenn King, Project Coordinator, felt that these new facilities sent out a positive message to staff that a more active lifestyle could be achieved. Set in the beautiful Suffolk countryside means that there are plenty of opportunities for lunchtime walks and cycle rides too. The local cycle infrastructure also provides good routes to their office.

The premises at Thurston was designed with "green" credentials in mind, and has won an award for its foresight, including the Silver Carbon Charter Award.

Glenn feels it's now time to turn attention on those who work inside the building, and hopes to encourage staff to take up more active interests.

The shower and changing facilities that have been installed at O Seaman's have a swipe card entrance, for added security. Hopefully these amenities will encourage other local businesses towards a more active commute.

Glenn feels that more energetic staff will improve well-being, fitness, motivation, and therefore productivity for O Seaman's, and also be beneficial to staff as  it will improve overall welfare, save money and could improve contentment levels.

  • Type of company: Housing Association with a large Supported Housing and Care Division
  • Location: London Road, Ipswich
  • Number of staff: 100 in Ipswich office (560 in total)
  • Website: www.orwell-housing.co.uk

Orwell Housing has received funding towards the installation of a new shower and changing facilities at their Ipswich office, after taking advantage of the Travel Plan Grant Scheme.

Chris Wyer, Director of Finance and Resources, said they had been considering the installation of a cycle shelter, shower and changing facilities for some time but had been cautious due to the costs. However, the suggestion by an employee to implement the Bike to Work Scheme and provide cycle facilities, coupled with being made aware of the Travel Plan Grant scheme, prompted Orwell Housing into action to acquire these new facilities. In addition, the employee who made the suggestion has now become the office Cycle Champion!

Staff are already becoming more aware of the benefits of these new facilities, cycling is on the increase, some are going for a ‘social cycle’ after work, whilst others have started to jog to and from the workplace.

Orwell Housing takes a keen interest in the health and well-being of its staff, and is eager to foster a healthy workforce. Apart from encouraging an active commute, which included joining the Bike to Work Scheme, they also signed up to the Healthy Ambitions Workplace Health & Well-being Programme. Furthermore, employees are regularly emailed with health and well-being information in order to raise awareness of various issues.

The company’s intranet also gives staff information on active commuting (including cycle maps), public transport as well as car-sharing.

For Chris Wyer, the advantages to the organisation of having a staff with greater well-being and sustained or improved health includes lower absenteeism, alert and focused employees, which leads to greater efficiency and higher productivity.

The Chief Executive and all three Directors, including Chris Wyer, recently undertook a gruelling ‘East to East’ 150-mile cycle ride to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. Over 3 days the team rode from their Lowestoft office, through Norwich, Bungay, Ipswich and finally returning back to Lowestoft. To keep them focused on the purpose of Habitat for Humanity’s aim (to provide decent places for people to live) the squad spent one night of the ride camping and the other sleeping in the office!

  • Type of company: Recruitment Company for the energy business
  • Location: Beccles
  • Number of staff: 8
  • Website: www.peoplewithenergy.co.uk

People With Energy recruit permanent and temporary staff for the energy business and the Smart Energy sector throughout Europe.

The company took advantage of the Travel Plan Grant Scheme to acquire match-funding towards a new secure cycle facility at their premises in Beccles.

Commercial Manager, Nick Fraser, felt that because they were so involved in the energy business that it made them even more aware, as a company of "green" issues. They make every attempt to improve on sustainability, including:

  • promoting active commuting
  • committing to recycling and decreasing energy usage
  • reducing travel by conducting over 95% of their initial recruitment interviews using Skype

The company has already been awarded a Silver Carbon Charter Award and is now actively going for Gold!

All staff members at the Beccles office are cyclists and keen on active pursuits. As well as the secure cycle storage a shower and changing room are also provided to allow cyclists to freshen up. As one stalwart colleague has a 50 mile round trip from his home in Norwich these facilities are much appreciated!

As a result of some of the staff members getting together to cycle at the weekend, it was decided to include cycling as a team-building and levelling event. Staff members have completed a sponsored bike ride for the Brain Tumour Charity and Managing Director, Stuart Smith, is undertaking the Coast to Coast Cycle Challenge.

Nick felt that a more active commute led to healthier individuals and that the offshoot of the team-building event was a real bonus too. For staff the cycle to work definitely had economic and well-being benefits.

Nick, a keen cyclist himself, said:

“The relatively flat county of Suffolk is a lovely area to cycle. You can avoid the ‘A’ roads and ride through beautiful villages and fabulous countryside. The cycle to work is a really great way to start the day!”

  • Type of company: Provider of specialised subsea pipeline protection systems
  • Location: Lowestoft
  • Number of staff: 14
  • Website: www.pipeshield.com

Pipeline International Ltd has received funding towards the installation of a new purpose-built cycle park at their Lowestoft office, after applying for the Travel Plan Grant Scheme.

Alison Taylor, HR and Business Manager, explains how, before the cycle storage was installed, staff would bring their bikes into the reception area if the weather was poor. At times when several of the staff had cycled in, the reception would become quite cramped. The design of the cycle storage became a whole staff matter which ended in an installation that was small, small, neat, fit for purpose, in company logo blue and aesthetically in keeping with the building.

Since the installation of the cycle parking there has been a slight increase in staff cycling numbers. 

Alison herself cycles to work, as does Managing Director, Steve Howlett. It was felt that the active commute was a good way to encourage more exercise for all staff who, as typical for office working conditions, often have a mainly sedentary working day. Another positive for the company was that the extra facilities provided by the company, e.g. cycle storage and wet room, sent out a message that Pipeshield care about their staff well-being, which indeed they do.

One employee, who lives in Ipswich drives to Pakefield then cycles into Lowestoft, missing the peak-time traffic congestion; this is a good example of how the multi-modal commute can be a successful option. Another Pipeshield employee is a stalwart cycling commuter who has, through his positive role modelling, encouraged younger members of staff to also take to their bikes.

Pipeshield are proud of their green credentials, and deservedly proud at achieving the Lowestoft Local Links Gold Award, successfully competing alongside many, often large, businesses in the area.

Although they are a small business, Pipeshield Internationals, still felt the investment in the active commute was key in encouraging improved health and well-being to all staff members.

  • Type of company: Manufacturer of heater and air conditioner systems and components for mobile applications
  • Location: Whitehouse Industrial Estate, Ipswich
  • Number of staff: 43
  • Website: www.rdac.com

RedDOT Europe has received funding towards the installation of a new cycle storage unit at their Ipswich office, after taking advantage of the Travel Plan Grant Scheme.

RedDOT has an impressive number of employees who cycle, with over 25% of the workforce choosing to commute on their bikes.

Mark Bunton, Health and Safety Officer, said their only regret from fitting the new cycle storage was not installing a larger unit as the new one was already full! The company are now considering their next step in encouraging a more active commute, with possibly installing a shower and/or an addition to the cycle storage.

RedDOT take the well-being of staff members very seriously. They became one of the first manufacturers to use a 10 hours a day, 4 day production week, in order to give staff time for personal commitments on Friday.

The company also takes sustainability very seriously, using lean manufacturing principles to streamline the flow of raw materials through production and minimise waste. Their packaging is designed in order to use less material and to be as recyclable as possible. Segregated waste product receptacles are also used on the premises to streamline the recycling process.

Mark Bunton considered the advantages of cycling for staff included, cheaper transport costs, health benefits and improved well-being due to less stress from not being stuck in queuing traffic. In turn, the company benefits from healthier and fitter staff that arrive at work more alert and motivated.

  • Type of company: Insurance Broker
  • Location: London Road, Ipswich
  • Number of staff: 52
  • Website: www.ryans.co.uk

Ryan Insurance Group Managing Director, Tim Ryan, feels they have a friendly relationship with their staff as the company tries to create a culture of “Health, Wealth and Happiness.” He feels staff enjoy what they do, and are happy in their work.

Greener travel options are being developed for staff which will encourage quicker, more economical and healthier modes of getting into the workplace than driving. Two new cycles have been locally purchased for staff to use either in their lunch breaks, to get to town/Sainsbury’s or to attend local meetings. They have also installed a shower and updated their cycle shelter to enhance the facilities for members of staff that wish to cycle or run to and from work.

The company were attracted to their cycling initiative through the Fresh Ways to Work sponsorship scheme. The funding that they received to encourage cycling in the workplace was doubled with an equal investment from Ryan Insurance Group. This financed the purchase of the cycles, the shower, storage alterations and also went towards providing new helmets and lights.

Ryan Insurance staff took part in the Suffolk Cycle Challenge – whilst director Robin Belsom also managed the gruelling London to Paris Charity bike ride.

The company tries to involve staff in active events, particularly those involving charities as they feel there are so many positives: it’s a great leveller, employees are fitter, enjoy the challenge and bond as a group. This, in turn, gives rise to a happier workforce that then benefits Ryan Insurance. Consequently, their nominated local charities gain much needed funding and the whole company enjoys the feeling of knowing they have helped their causes. Ryan Insurance’s chosen local charities this year are Headway and Lapwing.

A new project now being set up for staff is a Wii, which staff will pay a nominal amount to use or can arrange contests to produce some friendly rivalry. Again, all monies raised will go towards their nominated charities.

Ryan Insurance have also taken part in inter-company sports events which Tim Ryan says generates a healthy rivalry as well as a good networking opportunity. Later this year staff will also be dressing up and taking part in the Roundtable “Rudolf” collections at Christmas. These events are included as part of the working day in Ryan Insurance as the company feels that the benefits gained in staff affiliation, cohesion and happiness far outweighs the investment.

In an effort to lead by example Ryan Insurance has started many “greener” initiatives within the company, for example recycling and changing to energy efficient lights. These more environmentally friendly schemes are instigated by a staff-led Eco Committee.

  • Type of company: Specialist manufacturer of document security solutions for export
  • Location: Ransomes Europark
  • Number of staff: 10
  • Website: www.securityfoiling.co.uk

As a company, Security Foiling is very proactive in promoting cycling; they value having a healthy, happy workforce and see encouraging cycling as a great way to help achieve this.

Since introducing the Cycle to Work Scheme last year, the company has really embraced cycling as both a way for staff to keep healthy and to bring them together as a company, giving staff something to talk about.

The launch of the Cycle to Work Scheme at Security Foiling early in 2012 was a great success and has been taken up by the majority of the company’s 10 staff to buy a bicycle and/or equipment, all of whom cycle at least once or twice a week in the summer.

There are a number of keen cyclists working for Security Foiling who cycle frequently for leisure and the commute, and this enthusiasm has helped encourage other colleagues.

The company take part in cycling challenges, such as cycling from London to Brighton, as a fundraising activity for the company’s nominated charity, Mercy Ships. They were also proud winners of their category in the 2013 Suffolk Cycle Challenge.

In terms of facilities, there are fairly good cycle routes in the surrounding area, but security for parking bicycles outside the office was an issue, particularly for those who own high-spec bicycles. Prior to taking part in Fresh Ways to Work, the company also did not have a shower facility.

Since joining Fresh Ways to Work, the company have received and distributed Ipswich cycle maps and the 10% cycle discount voucher. They have also been provided with information to distribute to staff on safer cycling at night (as management are concerned about staff being seen on the routes to and from the office as the days get shorter).

In addition, Security Foiling have been able to apply for the match-funded grant to part-fund the installation of a shower and associated facilities, as well as improvements to the bike storage area, receiving approximately £1000 to help improve cycling facilities.

  • Type of company: Large local food venue, restaurant and garden centre
  • Location: Wherstead, Ipswich
  • Number of staff: 100 (depending on season)
  • Website: www.suffolkfoodhall.co.uk

Suffolk Food Hall has taken advantage of the Travel Plan Grant Scheme to acquire match-funding towards a new secure cycle facility at their premises in Wherstead, Ipswich.

Rather than procuring a ready-made cycle shelter, Suffolk Food Hall decided to go for a tailor-made option that blends in nicely with their beautiful rural surroundings.

Gemma Melton, Marketing and Design Coordinator, reported that feedback from the new cycle storage had been very positive. Some members of staff, who have expensive bikes, are much happier to bring them in to work now that they can be securely stored. Before the new storage unit was installed, staff cycles were stored in the staff room - which didn't make the best environment for people to enjoy their lunch!

There are 15/20 members of staff that cycle into work, and numbers are increasing. Colleagues often check to see who is cycling in to work the next day so that they can cycle together. The next morning, the furthest away colleague sets off first and routes round to meet up with other cycling staff.

Head Chef, Steve Robson says that, not only is it nice to cycle in as a group, but it also means you have to be ready on time as, “they don’t wait for you!”

Steve said he found that when you’ve completed your route into work a few times you start to find quicker and less congested routes that you would not be able to use if you were to drive in by car. It’s therefore a great way to find out more about the area in which you live.

In 2015 Steve completed a gruelling Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride. He was supported by Suffolk Food Hall management and colleagues to complete this event and raise funds for local charity East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). Enabling Steve to smash his £2600 intended target, and actually reaching nearly £4000!

Whilst preparing for this event Steve gained more of an understanding of the importance of food for training. As Head Chef, he was in the perfect position to create new recipes specifically with cyclist in mind. You can see some of Steve’s energy boosting recipe ideas on the Suffolk Food Hall blog.

There has definitely been a cycling knock–on effect in the kitchen, with 7 out of 9 staff members now cycling to work.

For the company Gemma thought that advantages of staff commuting by bike led to more switched on staff i.e. healthy staff with more energy. Staff members were also hungrier after their activity, which was also a good thing for a company such as Suffolk Food Hall! The active commute also helps to preserve the beautiful local environment and had the extra advantage of freeing up car parking spaces for customers to use.

The were also energising benefits for staff, as well as saving on fuel costs and the added bonus of the camaraderie that comes with cycling with colleagues. During the summer, staff often get together to organise after work cycle rides, where they set out for a relaxing ride around the lovely Shotley Peninsula area.

The Suffolk Food Hall management are very supportive and encouraging of their cycling staff and have even sponsored a workplace cycle kit.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust has received funding towards the installation of a new cycle storage unit at their Ashbocking office, after applying for the Travel Plan Grant Scheme.

In order to obtain a cycle storage unit that would be in keeping with their rural and natural environment, Suffolk Wildlife Trust designed their own cycle shelter. The timber and other materials for the unit were purchased locally, and the construction work was carried out by volunteers. As, a result the cycle storage unit blends in perfectly with their natural environment.

The new cycle storage has been very positively received by employees at the Trust, who are delighted to have somewhere to secure their cycles whilst also keeping them dry. The Trust is considering adapting the small ‘extension’ to the unit, that is currently used to store cardboard for recycling, into secure storage for wet or muddy clothing, including solar lights for drying, shelving and hooks.

Michael Strand, Development Manager and cyclist, felt that cycling as a means of commuting has many benefits. He thought that cycling results in fitter and more energetic members of staff who have less stress in their lives from not having to sit in peak-time traffic jams.

Michael also believed that cycling to and from the workplace creates a work/home buffer where people can unwind, shake off frustrations and have some down time to think of nothing but the activity of cycling. Whereas, from a business point of view, to have employees that actively commute results in staff being more alert, motivated and also more productive – and of course it saves on car parking spaces!

Suffolk Wildlife Trust in Ashbocking takes its green credentials very seriously; using solar-powered lighting, a ground-sourced heat pump for heating and a specification for windows and insulation that is 50% better than the UK recommendations. The Trust has 5 other locations in Suffolk where they continue to introduce improved sustainable lighting, heating and water consumption methods, as well as improving on recycling

  • Type of company: Property Management
  • Location: Boldero Road, Bury St Edmunds
  • Number of staff: 10
  • Website: www.rakingsworth.com

Daniel Wilson is the owner of this family-run property management company in Bury St Edmunds, which oversees over 3000 properties.

Daniel took to his bike a year ago after being fed up of sitting in traffic, and realising the door to door commute was not good for his health, or his finances!

Daniel now uses his bike to get around town on his frequent visits to Bury town centre. He has invested in panniers to enable any equipment or supplies he may need to be carried easily. Last year Daniel clicked up 25,000 miles in his care, since he has taken to his bike in the past year he has only registered 9000 miles! Apart from the financial benefits, Daniel has lost a stone in weight and feels generally fitter with heightened wellbeing after the increase in heart rate that cycling can bring.

Other advantages include the thinking time that cycling gives - as you cycle back to the office you can mull things over that have cropped up at the meeting, giving you time to problem-solve and reflect.

Having seen the benefits of cycling, Temples Estates Management are now actively promoting cycling at the properties they manage. One of the biggest problems experienced at the residencies was parking spaces and parking related issues. Cycle storage units have been installed at tome of the properties and these have become so popular that they are already full! The knock-on effect is that many car parking spaces have now been freed up, allowing room for more cycle storage to be fitted.

His enthusiasm for cycling has also influenced Daniel's family too, and cycling has become a regular part of their weekends - the whole family now benefit from this activity.

  • Type of company: Landlords of rental industrial units and offices
  • Location: Combs Tannery, Stowmarket
  • Number of staff: 150+ on the Tannery site
  • Website: www.combstannery.co.uk

Webb & Son (Combs) Ltd have recently received 50% funding towards a new cycle stand and shelter, after taking advantage of the Travel Plan Grant Scheme.

Before applying for the grant scheme, the businesses on the Tannery site were surveyed to determine what areas of sustainable travel they were interested in, and what would encourage a greener commute. As the large majority of people working at the business park are from the local community, cycling and walking were the preferred modes of sustainable travelling.

The company felt that as they're situated on a historic site and in such a beautiful area, they should attempt to promote their location and make it as user-friendly as possible. With this in mind, Combs Tannery have maintained footpaths and stiles.

The tenants of the rental units are able to make use of the available paths, as well as the picnic table at lunchtimes. To make the surroundings even more appealing for walking the footpaths will continue to be maintained whilst more will be lengthened. Therefore the immediate local area not only benefits, but also becomes more attractive and accessible for workers to relax in during their lunch breaks.

The fitting of the cycle shelter has been so well utilised that it has encouraged Webb & Son to consider even more areas that they can look at to promote a greener and healthier commute; e.g. showers and an electric car recharging point.

Webb & Son were also pleased to receive a number of free Stowmarket cycle maps that they will redistribute to businesses in the Commercial Centre.

Has your business embraced the greener commute initiative?

Let us know what benefits you've experienced, and the problems you may have had to overcome.

Contact local.links@suffolk.gov.uk and let your business be a case study and an inspiration to others.

Local Links Scene