A campaign is underway to get residents in South Queensferry to become more active.
Business group Queensferry Ambition is encouraging locals to walk and cycle more and use public transport.
It says people making “active travel” choices result in a spin-off for the local economy and can boost takings in local shops and businesses.
It’s promoting its message through posters and social media and running engagement sessions with local schools and community groups.
The group is also running an event in the town this Saturday (September 17), with giveaways – including free bike checks – and lots of advice to inspire local people.
Maggie Mitchell of Queensferry Ambition said: “Leaving the car at home and walking, cycling or using public transport gets us moving more and is much greener.
“Figures supplied by the EU show an increase in trading where walking and cycling are the norm – by up to 40 per cent.
“There are other benefits, too. Adults who walk and cycle tend to be more productive at work, take fewer sick days and spend less time, on average, seeing their GP. And children who walk or cycle to school perform better in class.
“In Queensferry, we’re doing some survey work to identify barriers to people being more active in the community. We’re also trying to literally get folks on their bikes by setting up a stall outside Scotmid, just off the town centre, this Saturday (September 17) offering free bike checks and the chance to try electric bikes.”
The stall will also feature information on a local fitness bootcamp, as well as the Enterprise Car Club – which allows people to only have a car when they really need it. There will also be giveaways for children.
John Pryde, who helps run the fitness bootcamp in South Queensferry, encourages people to be more active. He said: “I often recommend starting small – getting off the bus two stops earlier and doing a little bit more exercise. Try something. If you’re moving more than you did before, you’ll be benefiting.”
His advice is echoed by Fiona Grant, a partner in JW Physiotherapy in South Queensferry, said: “Try to incorporate small movements within your day. A short walk at lunchtime, or getting off the bus sooner, or getting out for a walk in the evening. It’s important to tailor things to individuals because everyone is different.”
Saturday’s event and the wider campaign have been funded by Business Improvement Districts Scotland with grant funding from Transport Scotland. South Queensferry’s campaign has also been supported by the City of Edinburgh Council.
It’s part of a programme of events to support European Mobility Week, which gets formally underway on September 16.
Ms Mitchell continued: “Many of us have taken to shopping online, but there’s nothing better than going for a walk around the shops. It gives you some exercise, you can meet some lovely people, have a coffee – and perhaps bag a bargain at the same time.
“I hope people will support the campaign and think about their transport habits.
“Cutting down car use also cuts down emissions and the resulting pollution, and that has to be good for everyone too.”