Kelvin Hall is a unique partnership between Glasgow Life, the University of Glasgow and the National Library of Scotland combining culture and sport. In 2016, Kelvin Hall reopened as a new centre of cultural excellence providing access to collections, temporary displays, teaching and research, alongside a state-of-the-art Glasgow Club health and fitness centre.
In January 2021, we spoke to Programme Manager, Jade Graham about the organisation’s efforts to encourage cycling, including their new facilities.
As part of the refit, cycle parking was installed for 28 bikes and, thanks to funding from Sustrans, a repair area was added with a range of basic tools to enable staff to maintain their bikes. Helmets, panniers and waterproofs are also available for staff to borrow, and on arrival, staff can shower, change and store equipment in designated lockers.
Since joining the Cycling Friendly Employer Award, a programme run by Cycling Scotland, Kelvin Hall has created a Bicycle User Group (BUG) which operates across the National Library of Scotland, Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and the University of Glasgow. The BUG has improved communication between the partnerships enabling them to flag relevant initiatives, ‘tap into’ the existing cycling infrastructure and ‘promote cycling to a wider staff group.’ Jade reflected on the benefits of the BUG:
‘We’ve become real advocates for cycling to work and try to encourage it with our larger partners. It’s been really beneficial to raise awareness, build up people’s cycle confidence and promote cycling in our wider organisations.’
Jade mentioned that the Cycling Friendly Employer Award ‘crossed over really nicely’ with their Green Tourism Award application, as it ‘encouraged us and highlighted different groups that were doing good work encouraging Green Tourism’. Kelvin Hall is now the only Glasgow City Council building to receive a Gold Green Tourism Award.
Funding from Sustrans has enabled Kelvin Hall to organise various cycling events for staff including a cycle around Millport. Jade commented on how the event helped to encourage staff to resume cycling and increase their cycle confidence:
‘About 18 members of staff took part in the cycle around Millport. One person hadn’t been on a bike for 30 years and lots of other people just weren’t very confident. People were also at different fitness levels, so the 11 mile cycle around Millport was fairly accessible for people. The event was fantastic at supporting people to get back on their bikes and build up confidence.’
Jade also organised a Winter Warmer event inviting staff to walk, cycle or scoot to work. On arrival, they were rewarded with a free hot drink in a reusable cup which they could keep as a memento. Jade commented that the event prompted staff to think differently about their journey to work:
‘It really encouraged people to think about their journey and since the event, a lot more people decided just to walk into work, as opposed to driving. It was really encouraging on all different levels of how we think about transport, and how we think about accessing work. We also gave everyone reusable cups, which meant that when they’re getting cups of coffee from the cafe they aren’t using disposable ones, so that was really good.’
Kelvin Hall also held a Family Green Day event, linking travel and transport to energy using a cycle powered cinema:
‘We had curators talking about energy and movement and how things work. To operate the cinema you had to cycle this much on your bike, so that helped people think about electricity and about switching things off. It enabled a more holistic perspective on transport and travel and the energy that we use, so the events have been really good for that…’
Jade mentioned how the Dr Bike maintenance sessions Bike for Good run have helped them to promote cycling to staff and customers:
‘Bike for Good is just around the corner from us and they have been really supportive. Our Dr Bike sessions were just for staff but we did it at a big window and lots of members of the public were really interested in it, so it also helped promote cycling to our customers, as well as our staff.’
Kelvin Hall has supported other sites within the partnership to apply for the Cycling Friendly Employer Award, such as Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, and would like to encourage other employers to apply:
‘It’s a great way to promote green transport and travel for staff. The climate issues that we’re having are not going away. It’s not some sort of trendy thing, sustainable transport, it’s something that’s just going to become more and more pertinent as the years go on. So it’s something I would encourage all employers to do. It’s beneficial for the company, it’s the way that the world is moving, so it’s good to get on board with it.’
If you’re interested in applying for the Cycling Friendly Employer Award in Glasgow, organising cycle training, a led ride or a Dr Bike maintenance session for staff please contact Bike for Good’s employer services team.
From funding opportunities to travel challenges, Way to Work Scotland provides a one-stop-shop to help your staff travel sustainably.