What would be the benefits of your staff, volunteers and service users engaging in more active travel? Would it help them improve their fitness, their mental health and their ability to carry out their role? If you had a pot of cash to spend on helping them get more active, what would you spend it on?

These are some of the quesitons Paths For All is urging charities to consider before applying to its Smarter Choices Smarter Places active travel fund. Because one thing is certain, Scots engaging in more active travel is better for the environment and the wellbeing of our whole society.

We are in the middle of a climate crisis; it is real and it is effecting the world we live in right now. It is the most serious issue facing us today and if we want to have a livable planet that we can pass on to future generations then we all need to act and we need to change the way we live now!

In Scotland we have some fantastic policy and commitment from government around sustainability and supporting and encouraging changes to the way we live. What is missing though is enough delivery and behaviour change on the ground.

The Scottish third sector is in a unique position to be able to encourage change through its reach, its flexibility and the trust the public has for charity organisations that support communities. Local government, businesses and other organisations are not in the same position to be able to lead and support this change and we as a sector therefore need to stand up and enable our communities and networks to deliver more on sustainability.

I believe it is every third sector organisations responsibility to act on sustainability.

Perhaps the easiest change we can make is changing the way in which we, our staff and our communities travel. The vast majority of journeys people make day to day are walkable for the average person yet 38% of journeys under two miles are made by car with this figure rising to 55% for journeys over five miles. 

Getting people out of their cars and travelling more sustainably within their communities really does help address the climate crisis but there are also a myriad of other benefits such as getting people fitter, keeping people healthier, boosting peoples mental health, reducing pollution and congestion in communities, giving people a better sense of community, reducing isolation and more.

The Smarter Choices Smarter Places Open Fund has grant funding of up to £50,000 available now. We are accepting applications for projects which will support and encourage people and communities to get out of their cars and to walk, cycle or use public transport more. We work regularly with small community groups and charities so very much understand the pressures on time and capacity many organisations face, however we are here to support you and your community with the process of applications, and we are passionate about the benefits to your community through the changes we can support and make together.

We have many examples of the fantastic projects we support on our website.

However, If you have an idea about how you could encourage healthier, more active travel within your organisation or within a community you support then please just get in touch in the first instance and start the chat with our team.

And all the details about making an application to the Open Fund can also be found here:

However, If you have an idea about how you could encourage healthier, more active travel within your organisation or within a community you support then please just get in touch in the first instance and start the chat with our team.