Sustrans is calling on Londoners to volunteer as Active Travel Champions to help encourage fellow residents of the capital to start walking and cycling more in the build-up to London 2012. The appeal coincides with National Volunteers’ Week, which started yesterday and runs until Sunday.
The sustainable transport charity says that it will train volunteers to help them provide support to colleagues at workplaces or educational establishments as well as people in their local community to switch to greener ways of undertaking their everyday journeys.
Anyone in London can apply, and the initiative is funded by an Inspiring Sustainable Living grant from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012.
One volunteer is Fameda Khanom, aged 27, a trained teacher and mother of two, who said: “I want to help people become more active because I feel they will enjoy it. It’s more fun exercising with friends. The benefits of cycling are endless; It’s good for your health, good for the environment, it’s fast and cheap.”
Rebecca Davis from Sustrans, who is heading up the Active Travel Champions initiative, explained the background to the appeal, saying: “The target for the London 2012 Olympic Games legacy is to help at least two million people to be more active. Helping people to walk and cycle more in the run up to and during London 2012 has to be part of achieving that.
“People’s barriers to walking and cycling are often things like ‘it takes too long’ or ‘I’m not fit enough’, the Active Travel Champions will help them tackle and overcome these issues. They will be a team of be ordinary people who make their everyday journeys in active ways and will inspire and encourage those around them – at work, college or school for instance – to do the same.”
Successful applicants will be given full training and support from Sustrans and if you want to find out more information, you can contact Rebecca on 020 7780 7201 or by //atchampions [at] sustrans.org.uk" target="_blank">email.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.