SERC staff trade four wheels for two

Steven Patterson, from Sustrans on far left and Mabel Scullion, from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in centre with staff of SERC in Lisburn who took part in the project.
Steven Patterson, from Sustrans on far left and Mabel Scullion, from the Public Health Agency (PHA) in centre with staff of SERC in Lisburn who took part in the project.

Staff from SERC’s Lisburn campus are turning their usual commute into a bid to improve their health and fitness.

They have been taking part in an Active Travel project that saw them roll up their sleeves and tuck in their socks in on-road cycle training and bike maintenance courses designed to encourage staff to choose two wheels for their journey to work.

The project, which was funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA) and delivered by the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans.

Chris Totten, Head of Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement in the South Eastern area at the PHA, said:

“It’s recommended that we get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. So why not try cycling to and from work each day and break it down to getting 30 minutes of activity at least five days.

“It can be fun, good for the environment and good for your health, with regular exercise helping you maintain a healthy weight, reducing the risk of many diseases including heart disease, type 2two diabetes and some cancers. As well as this, being active is also good for your mental health by helping to reduce anxiety.”

One of the participants, lecturer Ian Watters, actually bought a bike through the College’s Cycle to Work Scheme and now commutes on two wheels instead of four a couple of days a week.

“It was a great project and really helped me realise the benefits of cycling,” he said. “I even do more cycling with the family at the weekends too.”

Another benefit of the project was the networking.

As one participant, lecturer Liam Lynch, said: “The best thing about the project was the opportunity to network with others, both inside and outside SERC, who had an interest in active transport.

“Now there is a community of people cycling to work, and this is likely to grow as we become more visible.”