In March 2023 we were the first college to be accredited with the Cycling UK “Cycle Friendly Employer” gold award for the range of support we have introduced to encourage staff and students to get on their bike and cycle to the college. Having been the first college in the country to officially declare a climate change emergency a few years ago, winning a Green Gown award in 2022 and now being accredited with the Cycling UK gold award, we are leading the way with our sustainability strategy.
Adam Tranter, the West Midlands Combined Authority’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, who presented the award to the college, said:
“It was great to visit Fircroft and see how they are leading the way in showing the local community what is possible. In the West Midlands, we’re developing cycling infrastructure for the city but cannot do it without the support of organisations like this who help enable staff and students to cycle to college. As well as awareness raising and offering training about how environmentally friendly, cheap, healthy and enjoyable cycling can be, Fircroft has shown us how companies can introduce this into their organisation with low cost but great benefits for their staff as well as clients.
I would encourage other colleges and businesses to start working towards the Cycling UK accreditation.”
Our award submission was led by Vice Principal (and keen cyclist), Michael Conway-Jones who was inspired by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson’s TED talk – “How to Find Joy in Climate Action” where she talks about linking private passion to what needs to happen. Michael often cycles to work and was motivated by Ayana Elizabeth to introduce a number of activities to the college including events for Bike Week; identifying and publishing cycle routes to college; providing led cycle rides; establishing “bike buddies” and installing a bicycle repair station.
“It was great to have Adam with us and to get his support and ideas for the next steps. We’re about to train 5 members of staff as ride leaders. They will help staff and students discover 8 miles of quiet cycle routes either side of the Bristol Road”.
We are also looking at options for buying and renting bikes for those who don’t have them and we have applied to City & Guilds to run a cycle mechanics course in partnership with The Bike Foundry. Again that would be the only one in the region!