Sustainable transport charity Sustrans is to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The Award, which is officially announced today (21 April) comes from the Queen, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and an Advisory Committee that includes representatives of Government, industry and commerce, and the trade unions.
The Queen's Award for Sustainable Development is the highest honour that can be given to a UK company. It recognises businesses and organisations which have made outstanding advances or have a high level of continuous achievement, in the environmental and social impacts included in sustainable development.
The award is recognition of Sustrans' work in driving forward the National Cycle Network and many other practical projects designed to get people travelling in healtheir and more sustainable ways, it has over thirty years of working in Bristol and across the whole of the UK.
Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans CEO says: “We are delighted to be recognised by this award. But it does not belong solely to us. From the early days of the National Cycle Network through to our £50 million lottery win we could not have achieved any of this without the support of the many hundreds of partners we work with every day. From central and local governments through to the private sector and individuals including our 2,500 volunteers we are grateful for their commitment and share this award with them.”
While the award doesn't actually carry any direct monetary benefit, it's more like the corporate equivalent of getting an OBE or MBE an official endorsement of the good work done by an organisation. Sustrans are particularly keen to portray this a a 'thank you' to their staff and in particular the many different partner organisations that Sustrans works with.
And while there may be no direct benefits from the award a Sustrans official that we spoke to pointed out that it would help raise the organisation's profile with other potential donors and partners and that in the business world such an award was calculated to boost sales by as much as 30 per cent. Sustrans is a charity so the comparison isn't directly applicable, but the point is that it could lead to indirect benefits that would result in more cycle paths and sustainable transport schemes in the future.
One of the charity's big strengths has been in capturing the public's imagination and harnessing that enthusiasm to get things done. Sustrans' finest hour in this respect was In 2007 when the UK public voted it the winner in the Big Lottery Fund’s largest ever competition. The £50 million prize money, for the charity’s Connect2 project, is now being used to enable 79 communities across the UK to get around their local area on foot and by bike.
The charity is also working with tens of thousands of children across the UK to help them cycle to and from school and has seen levels of cycling treble within a year. It is also innovating in encouraging people to re-think the way they travel, Sustrans’ work to encourage and enable people to walk, cycle or go by public transport has consistently reduced car trips by up to 10 per cent and at the same time increased the number of journeys people make on foot, by bike and by public transport. And communities in selected streets across the UK are already benefitting from a transport makeover as Sustrans works with residents to transform their neighbourhoods into places that are people- friendly rather than car-centric.
Today’s announcement will be followed by a formal presentation later in the spring. To find out more about Sustrans visit their website: www.sustrans.org.uk
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.