Kettering General Hospital (KGH) has been commended for its commitment to promoting alternative modes of transport – winning it a Modeshift STARS Green Award.
To achieve this national mark, the hospital has been working since last October with Kettering-based Brightwayz, a social enterprise that promotes active travel.
Brightwayz staff have been helping KGH implement a travel plan to encourage and enable people to, where possible, leave their cars at home and to find alternative and practical ways to get to and from the hospital.
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Modeshift STARS (Sustainable Travel Accredited and Recognised) is the UK’s leading active travel scheme and recognises schools, businesses and other organisations that have shown excellence in supporting cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel.
KGH’s director of strategy, Polly Grimmett, said: “We are delighted to have received recognition from Modeshift for our partnership work to develop more sustainable travel to our hospital.
"We have been supporting cycling, walking, public transport and links to our off-site parking for staff, for some time now and will be liaising with our staff and local people to find out what more we can do.
“We want to reduce congestion and unnecessary car journeys to our site and encourage our staff to think sustainably and perhaps consider options for getting to work that will have additional benefits such as improving their own fitness, health and wellbeing.”
So far the hospital has hosted free cycle repair sessions, collaborated on shaping the new Walk and Cycle infrastructure plan for Kettering and improved paths on the site for patient buggy journeys. There is much more in the pipeline.
NHS staff were given free access to the county’s Voi scoters during the Covid pandemic.
The hospital, with support from Brightwayz, will be looking to improve its current cycle storage. It is also offering more free cycle maintenance for the public and cycle training for staff. Electric cycles provided by North Northants Council, will be available for staff to borrow free for a month from next month.
Alison Holland, founder of active travel social enterprise Brightwayz, said: “The hospital, which already struggles with a lack of car parking spaces, is due to be rebuilt on the same site. Parking will become increasingly challenging as the construction work steps up so we have been working with the hospital to implement measures that will make it easier for people to walk, cycle, scoot and take the bus.
“The hospital is committed to improving the wellbeing of staff and volunteers, as well as the wider community. As part of the travel plan we are conducting surveys with staff, volunteers and visitors over the next few weeks – to find out how people get to the hospital and to find out how we can help them to have a better choice of how they get there.”
Today (Thursday, June 30) hospital volunteers will be conducting visitor travel surveys and Brightwayz will be providing active travel information including free local cycle maps.