Cycling funds up by 50% in London

Helen Barrett

Transport for London has increased by 50 per cent the value of grants available to community cycling projects in the capital this year in a bid to encourage more people from ethnic minorities to get on their bikes.

The transport body has set aside £150,000 in grant funding for such projects in 2006/07. Grants of up to £5,000 are available for smaller charities and community groups, particularly those with projects targeted at social groups under-represented in cycling.

"Our figures show that the number of recorded cycle journeys in London has doubled in the past five years, from 59,000 journeys in 2000 to 119,000 journeys in 2005," said Silka Kennedy-Todd, a spokeswoman for TfL. "We believe London is Europe's fastest-growing cycling city, and we want to build on that. We are looking for imaginative projects that will engage people and enhance safety and confidence on the road."

TfL is already funding a bike-pooling scheme to encourage Muslim girls from the Central Foundation Girls' School in Tower Hamlets to cycle to school. The school applied for the grant after finding that its Muslim pupils were less likely to cycle to school than their fellow pupils. The scheme will start next month.

Cycling initiatives by the Kingston Racial Equality Council, the UK Turkish Islamic Cultural Trust and the Islington Chinese Association were also awarded grants last year.

- Full details of the scheme and how to apply can be found at www.tfl.gov.uk/cycles/projects/community-grants.shtml.

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