Promoting Cycling and Walking in the Home Care Sector

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This cycling scheme in the Liverpool City Region provides an example of small scale support investments that can help workers travel more sustainably to improve health and well-being and reduce travel costs. This project shows that small projects with low budgets can make a difference in local communities.

Key Statistics

Location: Liverpool City Region
Key Stakeholders:
  • Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce
  • Merseytravel
  • Wirral BC (as STEP revenue fund managers)
Construction start date: During the course of 2016
Construction completion date: See above

Sources of funding



STEP Revenue: £8471.00
Capital Grant: £9610.00

Transport and the economy

See here as source of some of the figures used below.

This is an ongoing project, working with the home care sector, which Liverpool City Region had identified as one where Liverpool City Region could focus resources to achieve maximum impact. The key objective is to provide a cost effective travel alternative to encourage healthier life style choices, reduce travel costs and address safety concerns.

To date Liverpool City Region have worked with 5 companies during 2016, providing a total of 27 pool bikes for 5 companies (employing approximately 1,100 people) plus shower facility and cycle parking on one site. Additional travel advice and support has been provided through staff travel surveys/travel action plans, pedometers/cycle maps and support for specific initiatives to engage staff.

Rationale for investment

The rationale for this approach took into account the following:

  • There are an estimated 1.3 million jobs (England) with the private sector by far the largest employer employing over two thirds (circa 900,000) of all adult social care workers.
  • This workforce is estimated to have grown by around 15% since 2009 with the creation of around 200,000 jobs.
  • Just over half the workforce (52%) are considered to be full-time while 36% hold a part-time role – it is estimated that almost a quarter of jobs in the adult social care sector (23%) are operating on a zero hour contract (overall Skills for Care estimate there to be around 300,000 workers working on a zero hour basis).
  • Care worker median pay rates are above the National Minimum Wage though vary by sector, service and region. It is also evident that many workers are working at rates substantially below the Living Wage.
  • The adult social care workforce remains one skewed in terms of gender with 80% of workers being female.
  • The workforce is also an older one with 1 in 5 workers being aged 55 or over.

Turnover remains an issue in adult social care with an overall turnover rate of 25.4% (equating to around 300,000 workers leaving their role each year) which is an issue in a sector where continuity of staff is so vital to the experience of those who use care services.

Scheme objectives

Liverpool City Region also identified the following:

  • High on political agenda, particularly locally, with proposals to increase council tax to pay for care.
  • Anecdotally high levels of sick absence.
  • Potential for a ripple/cascade effect to demonstrate wider social benefits – influencing family and community.
  • Carers generally work between 7.00am and 11.00pm and often in areas not well served by public transport so have limited transport choices.
  • They have limited time between visits so less time spent travelling to their destination can be spent with the client.

Appraisal and selection

Scheme development

This project is part of the Chamber’s ongoing work to engage employers as well as working with partners to promote local funding schemes.

Business case development

No formal business case required but applications for funding included information around wider benefits of the project e.g. health and wellbeing, reduced travel costs, social benefits etc.

The sector itself has promoted this to other care organisations primarily by word of mouth and more formally through their own communications, including their local professional network.

Promoting cycling is just one element in the way in which these organisations are supporting staff through investing in health and wellbeing more generally. The success of these schemes has the potential to increase their own investment in promoting cycling.

Monitoring plan description (if available)

Through the ongoing work Liverpool City Region are proposing to do with the sector including follow up travel surveys.


Scheme delivery

The Chamber worked directly with the companies to raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable transport, looking at the wider benefits for the both the business and the individual e.g. CSR, environmental impacts (including ISO 14001), social value, supply chain/procurement.

Liverpool City Region also helped the businesses to submit strong applications (a form of “business case”) for funding, working with those managing the funding to resolve any issues.

No major issues encountered but small companies did welcome our support in completing the application forms which seem over complicated and time consuming particularly for relatively small grants.

Assurance processes

All grant recipients signed a “contract” with the funder.

Evaluating the investment

Performance evaluation

No formal assessment or follow up surveys have taken place to date. However the companies will need to submit a formal monitoring form as part of the conditions of grant and Liverpool City Region will are proposing to continue to work with the sector more widely to build on successes which have created some momentum.

Anecdotally Liverpool City Region have had some excellent feedback:

“One carer is saving all her bus fares in a jar and is determined to book a holiday to show of the fit body she is working on!”

“Liverpool City Region gave one bike to a carer who had quite a scary experience when she was followed by a man who hung around in the shadows from one call to the next. She was so scared Liverpool City Region sent a taxi to pick her up. Now she has a bike she feels safe as no one could keep up with her”

“The programme [wider health and wellbeing] made me change my whole lifestyle, from eating better food and drink to exercising regularly, and I’m enjoying it!”

Process evaluation

Probably too early to fully assess but some early lessons are:

  • Focussing on a specific sector can be more efficient and encourage peer support as well as sharing best practice.
  • Clearly an appetite within this sector to address the key issues they face including in recruiting/retaining staff, profile of workforce, level of salary, quality of care and contribution to the local community.
  • Promotion of cycling/walking needs to be part of a wider package of measures which is beneficial to both the business and the individual.
  • Partnership between Chamber and local transport authority (Merseytravel) and other local partners important to enable us to reach a wider, more diverse group of employees.

Need to be flexible (and patient) to ensure that any scheme/project meets the wider objectives of the business.

Improvements since opening

The project will continue to be reviewed to identify ways in which to engage more effectively and identify relevant funding streams which support this the environment and positive health outcomes.


This cycling scheme in the Liverpool City Region provides an example of small scale support investments that can help workers travel more sustainably to improve health and well-being and reduce travel costs. This project shows that small projects with low budgets can make a difference in local communities.

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