The first winners of the £2 million Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund have been announced by Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson.
The Open Fund provides match funding grants between £5000 and £50,000 to public, third and community sector organisations that seek to transform people's everyday travel behaviour to more sustainable modes of transport.
The scheme opened in June 2018 and so far 11 winners having been awarded a total of £210k across rural, urban and island locations. The Open Fund is delivered in partnership with Paths for All, who continue to receive innovative applications which will encourage people to adopt greener and healthier travel options.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson announced the first winners of the Open Fund during the Transport Scotland Bus and Active Travel Summit in Edinburgh. Mr Matheson said:
“I’m proud that the funding from this government has supported a variety of organisations across Scotland. It responds to requests from third sector and community organisations, alongside a wide range of public agencies, who want to contribute in making Scotland’s transport cleaner, healthier and more sustainable.
“Even in its first few months the fund is already creating new opportunities for people to walk and cycle for everyday short journeys and to choose sustainable options for longer journeys.
“We have doubled the active travel budget so that we can support fantastic opportunities such as the Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund. By providing financial support and empowering local organisations, we can encourage an Active Nation, and ensure that more people can enjoy the benefits of active and sustainable travel than ever before."
Ian Findlay, Chief Officer at Paths for All said:
“We are delighted that such a wide range of organisations across Scotland are taking advantage of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund. It’s been heartening to see such creative ideas coming forward and the appetite groups and organisations have when it comes to encouraging walking, cycling and sustainable travel.
“Creating opportunities for more people to walk and cycle for everyday short journeys and choosing sustainable options for longer journeys will not only improve the health of the nation, but it will help to create safer communities and reduce environmental impacts.
"Increased active travel helps to create robust local communities where people feel more connected to the places they live. We’re looking forward to continuing to work alongside the successful organisations of this new behaviour-change fund, supporting them to create a happier, healthier Scotland.”