Budding entrepreneurs with a passion for cycling and walking can apply for a new programme that could inspire travel change across Wigan Borough.
Wigan Council, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs, is launching the ‘Social Innovators in Health and Wellbeing’ programme, which will support the creation and development of new businesses that will use innovative ways to improve the wellbeing of residents through walking and cycling.
The free 12-month programme will help social enterprises and start-up businesses with an interest in this area to develop stronger partnerships with the sector, understand barriers and increase opportunities for co-designing cycling and walking initiatives to address health and wellbeing inequalities.
Funding for the programme has come from the Mayor’s Challenge Fund, which aims to kick-start Greater Manchester’s vision of becoming a city-region where walking and cycling are the natural choices for shorter journeys.
Councillor Paul Prescott, cabinet member for environment, transport and planning at Wigan Council said: “The School of Social Entrepreneurs has delivered support for entrepreneurs with proven results across the country, so we’re really excited about this partnership.
“We have a shared commitment toward encouraging more people to explore cycling and walking and this programme will deliver that goal in a way that also supports local people’s innovative business ideas.
“As well as providing an infrastructure that is fit for purpose, it’s also really important for people to understand the health and environmental benefits of cycling and walking and to see them as more attractive modes of transport.
“Our ongoing work in this area isn’t about preventing people from driving when they need to, it’s about encouraging people to think differently, particularly in relation to those shorter journeys where the car isn’t necessary.
“I look forward to how this programme rolls out in the coming months and seeing some of the fantastic and creative ideas from our borough come to fruition.”
Interested groups are being asked to express their interest by filling in an online form. The council and School of Social Entrepreneurs will then contact interested parties to talk through the programme and application process in more detail.
Alastair Wilson, School for Social Entrepreneurs CEO, said: “‘This new programme will help create resilient organisations and partnerships that will create lasting and sustainable change across Wigan. We will connect local change-makers and budding social entrepreneurs and develop their entrepreneurial skills, knowledge and attitudes to deepen their local impact.”
Previously the School of Social Entrepreneurs has supported the creation and development of a number of social enterprises across the country such as Peloton Liverpool; who work to create a cycling culture via a range of services including Agile; a cycle based delivery system, Bikiosk; a University based maintenance, repairs and bike sales hub and Cycling Without Age, a project which helps the elderly to feel the wind in their hair again. Also the award winning Bike Project which provides second hand bikes to refugees and asylum seekers and Drosi Bikes who create unique, functional and fun bikes and electric bikes from discarded ones.