The Scottish Government and sportscotland have launched an £8 million fund to improve cycling facilities across the country.
The national Cycling Facilities Fund will capitalise on the upsurge of interest in cycling by developing a network of accessible, inclusive and inspiring facilities that encourage people of all ages to ride bikes.
It will also deliver a tangible benefit which is part of the wider policy objectives driving the forthcoming UCI Cycling World Championships, which will take place in Glasgow and Scotland in 2023.
Commitment to cycling
The fund, which is open to clubs, education establishments, local authorities or leisure trusts, charitable organisations, community sport hubs and community organisations, has been made possible through a £4m capital funding commitment from Scottish Government and £4m of National Lottery funding from sportscotland.
This significant investment in infrastructure will be delivered over the next two years through a partnership between Scottish Cycling and sportscotland.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop explained what the fund aimed to achieve. She said: “The projects backed by this fund will inspire more people to get on their bikes, bringing benefits to people across Scotland as an enjoyable leisure activity and an efficient way to improve their health.
"We want to build on the incredible growth in cycling this year and see even more people choosing to travel to school or work on two wheels.
“Our overall aim is for Scotland to become one of Europe’s top cycling nations. The Scottish Government’s commitment to working with the UCI to host the first ever multi-world championships for cycling at one time in one country is a game-changing opportunity for cycling in Scotland.”
Sport for life
The ambition is for the Cycling Facilities Fund to provide accessible community and club facilities that inspire new and existing cyclists to make cycling a sport for life. The Cycling Facilities Fund aims to support cycling projects from across Scotland and welcomes proposals from all areas.
Stewart Harris, sportscotland chief executive, said: “Thanks to this new fund we have a unique opportunity to harness the growing interest in cycling and to promote health and wellbeing, taking a significant step towards our vision of an active Scotland where everyone sees sport as a way of life.
“Accessible community facilities across Scotland are only possible thanks to the continued support of a range of partners including the Scottish Government, Scottish Cycling, the National Lottery and of course National Lottery players.”
A lasting impact
Working closely with Scottish Cycling, sportscotland has developed clear guidance to identify priorities to ensure projects can make a lasting impact. Projects can bid for awards up to £100,000 for smaller ‘inspire’ projects and up to £500,000 for Club and Hub projects.
The three key objectives for the fund are to:
- inspire the nation to cycle by developing accessible, inclusive and inspiring facilities
- grow and develop club and community cycling through multi-discipline hubs with safe coaching and skills development areas
- develop the events infrastructure by building or upgrading facilities capable of hosting local and regional events.
The power of cycling
Craig Burn, Scottish Cycling chief executive, was in no doubt about the importance of the fund to cycling. He said: “This is hugely significant and reinforces our shared ambition and commitment to ensure the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships make a lasting impact and benefit local communities and clubs across Scotland.
"Dedicated cycling facilities provide safe, traffic-free environments for any cyclist of any ability to participate, train, compete and - most importantly - have fun whilst riding a bike.
“The fund will provide a catalyst to inspire the nation to participate in cycling and give children and adults the opportunity to improve their skills, confidence and ultimately bring about behavioural change and wider health benefits.
"By investing in community facilities up and down the country, we will use the power of cycling to help more people enjoy its benefits and get active.”
Inspiring a new generation
In August 2023, Glasgow and Scotland will host a historic and innovative event bringing together 13 existing World Championship cycling disciplines into one mega event for the first time.
The 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships will celebrate the unique power of the bike and all it can bring to our everyday lives, whether it’s physical and mental health benefits, easing congestion on the road to help the environment, or simply making it easier for people to get around.
Underpinned by four key policy drivers - participation, transport, tourism and economy - the Championships will be a catalyst for behavioural change across Scotland moving forward.
Through the Cycling Facilities Fund, there is an opportunity to deliver a lasting impact from the Championships by inspiring a new generation of cyclists by creating a network of accessible community facilities to develop the sport at every level.