Bradley McCracken (16), from Belfast, was presented with a Young Environmental Leader Award in the Grassroots Challenge, co-ordinated by the Wildlife Trusts and funded by the Big Lottery Fund.
As part of his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Bradley along with a group of teenagers – Louisa Williams, Peter Clarke and Matthew Sergeant who received the group award – volunteered their time to clear back overgrown vegetation, tidy path edges and survey wildlife, with support from Sustrans. The group also helped to apply for funding for a wildlife enhancement project.
“I’m extremely flattered and encouraged to have won this award, which I feel recognises the work carried out by the entire team, most notably their commitment and enthusiasm for this project,” Bradley said.
“Growing up, I was a frequent user of the Comber Greenway on family outings and walking to and from school. To have the opportunity to assist in its upkeep and preservation has not only been extremely enjoyable, but invaluable and has provided me with an insight into the 'behind the scenes' work involved.”
Hat-trick of Road Safety Awards
Sustrans also scooped a Road Safety award – for the third year running – at the Northern Ireland Road Safety Awards.
U105 presenter Frank Mitchell described Sustrans contribution to road safety as “immense” and quoted the judges’ opinion:
“The cycling charity is well known for delivering a successful schools programme which aims to make it easier for young people to walk and cycle for everyday journeys. Thus reducing congestion and improving road safety. This schools programme has continued to grow and has received funding for another five years to support the work they carry out in almost 300 schools.
“However most notably over the last 12 months, they have launched a three year Community Active Travel Programme in Belfast. This focuses on 12 disadvantaged areas of the city to deliver led walks, cycle training for children and adults, bike maintenance and community bike hubs.
“In addition they have extended their workplace programmes to Derry City and Strabane District Council. Staff have received on-road cycle training and travel planning to encourage safe journeys to work on foot or bike.
“They have also developed a bespoke cycle training course, Better by Bike, which they have tailored for commuters and community settings. The structured seven-week course for groups has enabled people to cycle confidently on road for leisure or work.”
Yes, it’s been a busy year!