by Amanda Eleftheriades
The value of cycle ways, footpaths and beautiful open spaces right on our doorsteps have become more than evident over the past year.
But for some the great outdoors can be difficult to access.
Volunteers with the Vale of Leven Trust recognised this was a challenge for many in their community.
In 2018 they started work on a community asset transfer of the old Police box near Bonhill Bridge – the aim to turn it into an Active Travel Hub for the community.
In May they celebrated a three-year funding boost of £125,000 from the National Lottery Community fund which will help make their dreams a reality.
Janice Ross, Trust chairperson, explained:
“The Active Travel Hub is something we’ve been working on for two and a half years. It’s really exciting seeing it coming together.
“Last year the asset transfer went through but there are issues with the building which we will be working on.
“We put the application into the Lottery so we can get something up and running this summer as we come out of lockdown it is needed now more than ever.”
The group will be purchasing electric bikes and recruiting two part-time staff to run regular healthy walking groups and cycling groups.
Janice added: “The funding allows us to rent temporary premises for the bikes while we sort out the building at Bonhill Bridge.
“We have interest from Live Active and from GPs and mental health services.
“The electric bikes and health walking groups will make it easier for people to enjoy the outdoors and we will also be training up volunteers to help run the groups.”
The Trust is also keen to recruit volunteers who are passionate about the Vale to their Steering Committee.
Janice explained: “If there are people interested in being involved we’d love to hear from them, we’re particularly keen to hear from women and people of colour.
“You don’t need to be an experienced walker or cyclist to get involved, just interested in our community.
“There are lots of different skills we could use – digital marketing, accountancy, business skills – they would all be really invaluable to us.
To get involved with the Vale Trust’s Active Travel Hub or find out more email firstname.lastname@example.org or text or leave a message on 07570227712