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Thursday, 7 December

Support helps cycling campaign go from strength to strength

Photograph of cyclists

Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign (BACC) is a voluntary group run by cycling enthusiasts and local residents whose main aim is to improve and promote safer cycling and the provision of new route infrastructure within Bridgwater and the surrounding areas.

We caught up with Chairman Gary Perrett to find out more about their work and how Spark Somerset have helped them to go from strength to strength. 

‘After two years of running BACC it had become obvious to me that we needed to employ someone to update our website, manage our communications and get us on social media, while the auditing guys got on with the infrastructure work. 

‘Leigh Redman, Bridgwater Town Mayor & Councillor, suggested talking to the Spark team with respect to our poor communication setup and the need for some major funding advice. Initially I was sceptical about whether we needed to get involved in more meetings, connections and contacts that would just take up more of our precious time. ‘I could not have been more wrong! 

‘Entering the community forums and talking to others was encouraging and it was also humbling to see what others do.’

And, since making connections with the Spark team, they have been really encouraging and supportive and given us lots of their time and wisdom. 

‘Emmaline Kay initially connected us with other groups of interest and was really encouraging to us and other groups at the Bridgwater Community Forum. 

‘Amelia Norton then gave us lots of funding advice and information and together we have successfully applied for a significant grant from the HPC Community Fundl! Amelia has since helped us with other funding applications; I check with her that I’m doing the right thing and she gives me the confidence to go forward. 

‘Fundamentally, Spark gave us the confidence to go out for larger funding.’

‘Hayley Pope, too, provided her wisdom and encouragement at numerous meetings and also gave up her own time to help us with our interviews for a new admin/support person. 

‘That person started in February and is now firmly in place. Their technical knowledge of websites and social media is useful and we’re able to employ them for eight hours a week which, thanks to funding that Amelia helped us secure, will continue for many years to come. 

‘This support has helped us to improve our reputation and opportunities for engagement. Somerset County Council, Sedgemoor District Council and the Town Council are increasingly looking to engage with us and include us in their discussions regarding active travel. This is a big step forward for us and makes a lot of sense as we have a breadth of knowledge regarding the existing cycling and walking infrastructure and a good understanding of what people are looking for to encourage them to use more sustainable transport choices. 

‘What Amelia and others at Spark Somerset have done is to encourage us to have a professional approach which is absolutely superb.’

Bridgwater Area Cycling Campaign also support safer walking, the interests of pedestrians and all means of sustainable transport. To find out more about their wonderful work visit their website. 

Find out how Spark Somerset can support your organisation here.