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Wildlife centre staff get on their bikes

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By Euan Maxwell
Dumfries and West
Wildlife centre staff get on their bikes
BIKE BUZZ . . . the new bike shelter at WWT Caerlaverock

STAFF and volunteers working at a Dumfries nature reserve are being urged to get on their bikes and cycle to work.

And The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust’s (WWT) Caerlaverock centre has recently installed sheltered bike storage and showers to encourage more cycling.

The new facilities were built following a successful application to the Cycling Friendly Employer development grant funding programme, which is funded by Transport Scotland and delivered by Cycling Scotland.

It is now hoped they will make riding to the reserve a more accessible and stress-free means of transport for those who travel there for work several times a week.

Faith Hillier, engagement officer at Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, has recently caught the cycling bug and said: “Having a covered area to lock up my bike was really useful and along with the new shower and changing area, it really encouraged me to cycle the nine miles to work. I hadn’t cycled much before but have since cycled to work regularly and have really enjoyed it. I’ve also started exploring my local area on the bike at weekends.”

Lucy Smith, head of sustainability at WWT, added: “When we recruit people, they tend to need access to a car because some of our sites are so rural in their location. Having these facilities now means you don’t necessarily need a car – you can ride a bike here! If someone doesn’t drive or can’t afford a car, they previously probably wouldn’t apply for a job with us, but now we can further promote our cycling friendly culture which opens up work and volunteering opportunities for more people locally.”

John Higham, cycling friendly employer development officer at Cycling Scotland, commented: “Over the past year of lockdown restrictions, our network of automatic cycling counters recorded a 47 per cent increase in cycling across Scotland. Employers could benefit from embracing this massive interest in sustainable transport – cycling to work has been proven to reduce employee stress, increase health and wellbeing, and create financial savings.”

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