A new collective voice for all those interested in cycling across the North-east has been formally launched. Grampian Cycle Partnership (GCP) is now formally constituted as a voluntary organisation with appointed committee members.
This follows on from the event, hosted by Nestrans at Robert Gordon University in September last year, 'Cycling in the North East – Moving Forward Together' which brought together almost 200 of the area’s cycling community. The evening featured presentations from organisations including national cycling charities Sustrans Scotland, Cycling UK, Police Scotland and an open discussion on key issues for cyclists in the region.
The event concluded with the creation, in principle, of the new Grampian Cycle Partnership. The partnership will, for the first time, form a single umbrella group to represent all those interested in cycling across the North-east. The new group will work proactively and in partnership with any local club, group, association or individual as well as with the local authorities, businesses, workplaces and national organisations to help improve facilities and infrastructure for cycling in the area.
Since then, a large group of those keen to help create the organisation have attended several meetings across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray to discuss the organisation structure, objectives and strategy. A constitution was drafted and agreed and members appointed to the initial committee. Links have been developed with various key partner groups, within the local authorities and with numerous individuals and work is ongoing to identify short-term and long-term priorities for cycling in the North-east.
The newly appointed chair of Grampian Cycle Partnership, Josefine Björkqvist, said: “Cycling is becoming increasingly popular across the North East but there are still many who would like to cycle that, for various reasons, do not get on their bike. Grampian Cycle Partnership will work to make cycling safer and easier for all because cycling has so many benefits, including benefits to health, the environment and the economy.
“The Scottish Government doubled investment in walking and cycling to £80m in 2018-19 and we want to make sure that we can attract more of this funding to benefit communities in the North-east. We want everyone to have the opportunity to cycle, whether that is a commute to work, a family ride or a sporting event, and we are calling for people and organisations that share our vision to join the GCP.”
Donald Boyd, development manager with the Huntly and District Development Trust, said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see the launch of the Grampian Cycle Partnership. Time and again we hear from people in our community that they’d like to cycle more and then a list of reasons why to them it’s simply not possible. GCP, by bringing together the partners who can remove some of these (perceived) barriers, has an important role to play in helping communities and individuals access the many benefits that cycling offers. We wish GCP every success.”
Stuart Alexander, a trustee of Stonehaven Town Partnership, said: “As a voluntary group the STP is looking to improve local cycling infrastructure to make it safer and more enjoyable. Having already had a presentation and discussions with the Grampian Cycle Partnership, we look forward to co-operating with them to bring forward practical measures that will make a difference to cycling in and around the town.”
Derick Murray, director of Nestrans, the regional transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, said: “Having created, in partnership with Sustrans, the Cycling Development Officer role within Nestrans, and being appointed to the Government’s Task Force on Active Travel Task Force, I remain committed to doing my utmost to encourage, promote and support all forms of active travel. It is clear that we, and all partners, need to work effectively together in order to best achieve lasting progress. I am sure this will be further enhanced with the creation and development of Grampian Cycle Partnership.”
Anyone looking to get involved or for more information on the Grampian Cycle Partnership please visit www.grampiancyclepartnership.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.