West College Scotland
Making cycling facilities visible for students
West College Scotland has three campuses at Clydebank, Greenock and Paisley, educating over 22,000 students.
For a number of the students attending the College, many will come from the surrounding postcode areas high in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. For some students, who may have had a negative experience at school, the College provides a stepping-stone onto further education and employment.
"No-one knew about the facilities"
All campuses are served by good rail and bus links, but were struggling to engage students and staff to cycle. Cycling rates were higher in some locations than others, with one of the main barriers being lack of knowledge about facilities available. As Gillian Gray, Development Funding Executive at West College Scotland said, “there were racks where people could securely leave their bikes, but no-one knew about them".
In January 2019, West College Scotland was funded £7,380 from the Cycling Friendly Campus programme to install 20 cycle pods and prominent signage highlighting the cycling facilities at the college.
“What we have been able to do with the funds,” Gillian Gray adds “was to make a very visible presence of the availability of secure bike storage.” There was, in both Paisley and Greenock, a substantial amount of bike parking, and the funding was used to install large, bright wrappers that direct people to the facilities avaialable.
Gillian continued: “West College Scotland now have clear signage for bike parking that is safe and secure across all of our campuses. The signage provides clarity on what we have and where it is – the bike storage is easy to see and the storage facilities are located in prominate positions across our campus locations. For a new student, or visitor to the campus, it’s very clear where they can find bike facilities. The funding has allowed us to highlight what we have, and made it more noticeable, for relatively low-cost.”
Looking to the future
Speaking during the Covid-19 pandemic, when the campuses were closed to students and staff, Gillian commented that the bike facilities will “come into their own when students, staff and visitors want to cycle post-Covid. We feel we’re able to offer students and staff enough capacity to park their bikes securely. The College is positive that the infrastructure across the 3 campuses will support people who want to either transition to cycling or use their bike more often once the pandemic is over.”
“Thanks to the funding, the visibility of cycling at the college has definitely been enhanced and we’re in a much better position to support the increase in cycling for students and staff returning to campus.”