NHS Forth Valley has seen Cyclescheme go from strength to strength since signing up in 2011, with sustained interest from both new and experienced cyclists. By communicating clear, consistent messages about the benefits of cycling and by providing opportunities to get expert advice on getting started, the Health Board has created a strong cycling culture with real benefits for its workforce.
NHS Forth Valley signed up to Cyclescheme when a wide range of staff and services moved to the new Forth Valley Royal Hospital in 2010. A key requirement for the move was sustainable travel provision, so signing up to Cyclescheme was a logical step towards achieving this.
The Health Board found getting started very easy, with clear guidance and explanation on what they needed to do. After Cyclescheme had paid a visit to explain the set-up process, the Board felt confident that it would be a success and signed up without hesitation. It was important for the Board to ensure that there were a network of local providers that could be trusted to give sound, appropriate advice to staff, and a key reason for NHS Forth Valley choosing Cyclescheme was the breadth of local suppliers it offered.
My message for anyone thinking about Cyclescheme would be to sign up now: the health and wellbeing benefits are huge. Sta also really appreciate the fact that our organisation is part of a scheme which helps them to buy a new bike.
Every week I talk to sta who have participated in the scheme and it’s clear that it has had a really positive impact on the lives of many who work here.
Mark Craske, Travel Manager, NHS Forth Valley
Ensuring regular opportunities to publicise Cyclescheme and keeping a consistent message around its benefits has been really effective in getting employees involved. The Board make sure that Cyclescheme is included as part of wider campaigns around health, wellbeing and sustainable travel. For over half the year, NHS Forth Valley hosts a bi-weekly 'Dr. Bike' clinic, which gives staff the chance to get expert tips and advice. This is particularly important to build the confidence of those new to cycling. NHS Forth Valley also has storage facilities in place which has helped to get more people on their bikes, and is now working with a local enterprise to organise regular 'led-rides’ in the morning, an initiative that’s been successful in giving more people the confidence to start cycling to work.
The Health Board has found that normalising the prospect of cycling to work is crucial. It has been especially important to make it clear to staff that it doesn’t require ‘all or nothing’ approach, and that even cycling to work for a few days each week can have lasting benefits. It's these types of small encouragement that have made a big difference.
NHS Forth Valley is now focused on continuing the success of Cyclescheme and encouraging even more staff to get involved. So far, all feedback received has been positive.