Get on your bike for community funding

Funding is available for new community schemes
Funding is available for new community schemes

Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, has launched the Community Links PLUS competition for 2016/17 which seeks ambitious design projects, restoring balance in Scotland’s streets in favour of people walking and cycling.

Run by Sustrans, with funding from the Scottish Government, Community Links PLUS is entering its second year. Targeted at local authorities and statutory bodies, the primary aim of the competition is to deliver pioneering projects to inspire communities and councils in Scotland to continue to design places around people.

Sustrans is calling on all local authorities, including Midlothian Council, to apply for this year’s competition. Last year, the council proposed the urbanisation of the A7 that would provide a sustainable active transport system in the area.

The three-stage process will invite initial expressions of interest by December 2. Up to ten of the most promising entries will be invited to proceed to Stage Two and will receive a grant of up to £10,000 to develop their proposals further. A shortlist of up to five of the highest quality bids will be invited to proceed to Stage Three and will receive a grant of up to £40,000 to finalise their detailed proposals and make presentations to a cross-sector expert panel, chaired by Transport Scotland chief executive Roy Brannen. The result will be announced in the summer of 2017 with the winning project(s) receiving multi-year funding for delivery from 2017-20.

The winner of the 2015-16 competition was Glasgow City Council’s ‘South City Way’ design. The street redesign project, will improve the public spaces along 3km of new segregated cycleway stretching from Glasgow’s South Side into the heart of the Merchant City.

Mr Yousaf said: “I am looking forward to seeing even more innovative, strong bids this year in what is a multi-million pound, multi-year project. I would encourage all local authorities to register their interest early.”

John Lauder, national director of Sustrans Scotland, added: “We’re seeking big, bold projects that not only enable more walking and cycling but that boost local economies, make streets safer, more attractive places, and create healthier communities. After the success of Community Links PLUS 2015/16 we are delighted to be re-launching the competition, in partnership with The Scottish Government, and Transport Scotland. The ambition and creativity that we’ve seen from local authorities and statutory bodies is astounding and we can’t wait to see the designs that this year brings. I’d call on all local authorities including Midlothian Council to get involved.”