Mayor Graham Warke promotes the Active Travel Centre at Derry's Waterside rail station
A number of organisations in the North-West have joined forces to encourage more people to travel sustainably as part of this year’s Active Travel Challenge.
It comes as part of plans to open a new Active Travel Centre at the award-winning North-West Transport Hub this summer.
The centre, led by Sustrans and supported by Translink, is aimed at promoting greener and active travel methods.
The Active Travel Challenge initiative encourages people to try walking, cycling and taking public transport as an alternative to the car during the month of June – tracking and recording their journeys with a chance to win prizes.
Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, Public Health Agency (PHA), Sustrans, Western Health and Social Care Trust, and Derry City and Strabane District Council are all backing the challenge and encouraging individuals, community groups and businesses to take part.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Graham Warke said: “With the rising cost of living, an appetite to make greener choices that benefit the environment, and a return to the office, even in a hybrid model, there is a unique opportunity this year to try out new ways to not only get to work, but to take a break from working at home and get moving outdoors.
“It's a four-week challenge and we want to help more people leave the car at home, get active and help keep our villages, towns and cities clean and fantastic places to live and work.
“People from any organisation, workplace, or community group can take part. It’s a great way to improve both physical and mental health and mental wellbeing while reducing your carbon footprint.”
Active travel means making journeys by physically active means. Promoting greener travel options not only prioritises health and wellbeing but bolsters the North of Ireland’s ‘green’ economic recovery and progress towards a low-carbon future.
Translink’s Group Chief Executive, Chris Conway added: “Taking public transport, walking, or cycling, is not only an easy way to add in daily exercise, but also saves you money.
“We have invested in new zero emission buses, new enhanced walk-through six car trains as well as contactless ticketing, which is part of our commitment to transform public transport, making it more attractive and easier to use, so more people make it their first choice for travel.
“The new North-West Transport Hub is a key integrated station for the region, supporting business, leisure, and tourism opportunities, as well as acting as a community space for everyone in the city.
“Signing up to this challenge means everyone can do their bit to reduce congestion, reduce pollution and create a cleaner, more inclusive society for all.”
The new Active Travel Centre at the Hub will see Sustrans deliver a range of walking and cycling projects later this year including eBike demonstrations, a Women in Cycling Programme and bike maintenance workshops.
Sustrans Director, Caroline Bloomfield, stated that hybrid working gives a new opportunity to try active travel methods.
She said: “This year we are encouraging everyone to get active on their everyday journeys and what better place to launch this exciting initiative than our new Active Travel Centre here in Derry.
“Instead of sitting in a traffic jam or spending time looking for car parking, why not try walking or cycling as part of your commute, shopping trip or for leisure.
“The Active Travel Challenge is a great way to kick-start being active in your daily routine and make the change to a healthier lifestyle that will also benefit the local environment.”
The Active Travel Challenge is free to register and participants can log their active travel journeys online throughout June, with a different theme each week of the month and a range of prizes up for grabs, including a range of vouchers, travel tickets and rewards with national and regional retailers.
To find out more and get involved in this year’s Active Travel Challenge go to: atc.getmeactive.org.uk/ or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep up to date with all the latest ATC action on social media using #GetMeActiveNI
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