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£590k for community walking and cycling projects across London

TfL and The London Marathon Charitable Trust award funding to 60 groups to encourage active travel

Mark Moran
11 December 2020
The funds will support local projects that promote cycling
Walking projects will be supported
Walking projects will be supported


Community groups across London will receive funding that will enable them to make walking and cycling more accessible for people living in the capital

Transport for London (TfL), in partnership with The London Marathon Charitable Trust, has announced the recipients of the 2020 Walking & Cycling Grants London (WCGL) programme.

Over 60 grants of up to £10,000 over three years have been made available to community projects across London to deliver programmes that address barriers to active travel among traditionally underrepresented groups.

TfL and the charity say that enabling more people to walk and cycle is more important than ever as capacity is reduced on public transport due to social distancing and also avoid a car-led recovery from the pandemic.

TfL received 128 applications this year, the highest number in the scheme’s five-year history. A record 68 community and not-for-profit groups have been selected for the 2020 programme.

This year, the scheme is jointly funded in partnership with The London Marathon Charitable Trust as part of a new five-year programme to inspire Londoners to cycle and walk, with many health benefits for individuals and communities.

TfL research shows that people felt better physically and mentally when they introduced just 20 minutes of walking and cycling per day into their lives, with benefits including an improved mood, feeling more alert and enjoying discovering new parts of London.

The London Marathon Charitable Trust, which distributes the surplus generated from all events organised by its trading company London Marathon Events, has awarded the scheme £2m over the five-year period as part of its Strategic Partnerships Grants programme, created in 2018 to support big regional projects that inspire activity.

Sir Rodney Walker, chairman of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, said: “This is the first year of the trust’s partnership with TfL’s Walking and Cycling Grants London scheme, and we have been very encouraged by the increased number of high-quality applications received. The trust’s mission is to inspire activity and there are some fantastic projects within this round of funding that will enable more people from underrepresented groups to participate in walking and cycling activities.”

The 2020 funded projects will receive £593,369 of joint funding over three years, including:

  • The Aeon Bike Project – Inspirational Youth, Lambeth: This project will enable young black, Asian and minority ethnic men to work together within a team to tackle social isolation and mental health issues that have been heightened during the coronavirus pandemic. With advice and support from a mentor on led cycle rides, the project will help young men to speak out about their mental wellbeing and concerns around their educational and career pathways, which have been affected by COVID-19
  • Sole Sistas – activeNewham: This walking project will create two new social walks along the Newham Greenway after the morning school drop off, to help increase the wellbeing of pre- and post-natal women who may have young children
  • Breaking the Cycle: Fixing Bikes, Changing Lives – YES Outdoors, Islington, Camden and Haringey: This project will create an opportunity for disadvantaged young people to restore abandoned bicycles under the guidance of qualified mechanics, with support from the Metropolitan Police Property Services. Participants will be able to keep one bike upon completion
  • Walking Down Memory Lane: Step-by-Step Stories around Toynbee Hall – Walk East, Tower Hamlets: This project will create four new walking routes that will start and finish at Toynbee Hall community centre in Aldgate. Stopping points along the walks will act as prompts for older participants to share stories and connections
  • Girls Inclusion in Community Cycling Clubs – Access Sport, Hackney, Ealing, Bexley, Harrow and Walthamstow: This project will give young and teenage girls the opportunity to develop a passion for cycling and BMX, with a focus on fun and support to develop professionally if desired
  • Walk and Talk Project – Southall Community Alliance, Ealing: This project will create local health walks through green spaces and along the Grand Union Canal to start a new community dialogue and combat social isolation. Ten trained volunteers will communicate in diverse languages including Punjabi, Hindi, Pashto and Somali to encourage residents to boost activity levels
  • Lewisham Family Cycling Library – Climate Action Lewisham: Funding will create a new Lewisham Family Cycling Library that will use an electric-assisted cargo bike to take family cycling equipment directly to the most vulnerable families in the borough
  • Over 60s Social & Cultural Walking Group – Sport4Health, Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Hammersmith & Fulham: This project will create a programme of participant-led cultural walks to boost the health and confidence of older residents, many of whom have suffered from isolation through the coronavirus pandemic
  • Bart’s WeCycle Rehab – Walk and Cycle London, Waltham Forest: This project will support cycling as a rehabilitation activity for cardiology patients, who face particular barriers to cycling and walking that arise from their condition. Two BACPR cardiac rehabilitation nurses will take part in every session, providing a clinically safe and flexible programme to make cycling part of patients’ long-term health management
    Rutlish Recycle a Bike – Old Rutlishians Association, Merton: This project, in partnership with the walking and cycling charity Sustrans, will create a bike maintenance programme for secondary school students, who will learn how to repair and service donated bikes sourced from the local community. Once the bikes are road-worthy they will be sold to the local community at a subsidised price, making cycling more accessible to people on a low income.

To mark the announcement of the grant winners, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan visited The Cut in Lambeth where through-traffic has been restricted to people walking and cycling. Physical changes to streets like this – combined with funding for schemes like WCGL – are helping to transform our city.

Sadiq Khan said: “It is more important than ever that we do all we can to enable Londoners of all ages and backgrounds to take up walking and cycling. Not only will this mean they can enjoy the huge benefits they bring, but it will also free up space on public transport for those who cannot walk and cycle which is more important than ever to reduce the risk of a car-based recovery and ensure there is space to socially distance on public transport. Community schemes like this, combined with physical road changes to reduce danger, play a huge role in giving more Londoners the confidence to walk and cycle.”

Since it began in 2015, TfL's walking and cycling grants have helped more than 180 projects across all 33 London boroughs – encouraging 41,000 participants to embrace walking and cycling. Now approaching its sixth year, initiatives include forest walks, bike maintenance, wildlife walks, 1-2-1 cycle training to help disabled children ride safely, and independently, bereavement walks and courses to teach basic cycle maintenance.

This year, TfL has also added a community ideas hub to the WCGL website, as a forum to share ideas and learnings from effective walking and cycling projects that can be replicated by other community groups.

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