Episode 3: ‘Destination Sholver’
In Episode 3 of our Oldham Energy Stories, we meet Debi and Melissa from Sholver Travel Futures.
Debi, Melissa, and the rest of the collective from Sholver Travel Futures are on a mission.
Over the past six months, the Sholver group have been pursuing their ambitions to improve the clean transport offer available to local people.
The pilot project started from ideas formed in the Oldham Energy Futures workshops and refined for the Community Led Energy Action Plans, and has gone from strength to strength since launching in February this year.
The group recognised that the current service provision in the area was perceived to be unreliable, expensive, and did not serve the community’s needs well.
‘Currently, if you live in this area, you have to use a car or have access to one.’
They want to improve travel for everyone in Sholver; by that, they mean better busses, better pavements, better signposting, and better options for people in the area to travel cheaply, quickly, and sustainably.
Due to the area’s topography, people in Sholver rely on transport to access the rest of Oldham and for jobs and education in Greater Manchester.
However, the participants felt there was still some alternative to car use for shorter journeys that could be explored.
- How could they raise awareness of the poor bus service and campaign for better buses in Sholver?
- Could better signposting and well-maintained footpaths entice people to walk rather than drive on shorter journeys?
- What could the group do to encourage more active travel in their neighbourhood?
From the start, there was agreement that a broader consultation within the community needed to take place; this would confirm the participant’s thoughts and help them spread the word about the project to encourage support.
Sholver Travel futures met to co-produce a survey, and with support from First Choice Homes Oldham, it was launched in June this year, and so far, nearly 100 responses have been received.
Through community surveys, they understood people of Sholver needed footpaths to be improved to encourage walking, reliable busses to travel into town, and knowledge sharing about the existing public rights of way in the area and where they’ll take you.
Sholver Travel Futures established a monthly walking group, ‘The Sunday Stroll’, an informal, local walk open to everyone, taking in the breath-taking views of the area, which allows people to connect, exercise, and learn more about what the group aims to do in the future.
The next step of Sholver Travel Futures is to share these suggestions with stakeholders and work across newly formed partnerships to bring the improvements to fruition.
Sholver Travel Futures also established a monthly walking club, ‘The Sunday Stroll’, which aims to encourage residents to take short walks around some of the breathtaking routes in Sholver.
The stroll provides an excellent opportunity to chat with fellow residents about improvements in Sholver; suggestions so far have included improving footpaths, increasing access to recycling facilities for those without a car, and surveying Public Rights of Way maintenance and access issues to the Council.
Alongside this, a community-co-produced walking route map is under development, hoping to help new and old residents rediscover easy-to-use walking routes across the neighbourhood and reduce short car journeys.
This is just the start of their journey; follow them on Facebook to find out what’s next https://www.facebook.com/SholverTravelFutures