Swansea University has made it through to the second stage of the Santander Cycles University Challenge, beating stiff competition from 22 other UK universities.
Only five out of the 23 universities who entered the competition have made it through to the final stage which will see Swansea University battling it out with Birmingham, Brunel University London, Surrey and Portsmouth in an intense contest to raise funds through crowdfunding campaigns.
The two universities who raise the highest percentage of funds above their initial target will win the coveted prize of £100,000 worth of equipment and infrastructure to establish a bikeshare scheme for their university and community.
The brand new competition which was launched in March by Santander and partners Nextbike and Crowdfunder has been built around a revolutionary approach to how bikeshare schemes can be funded and sustained within communities across the UK. By combining the provision of resources and consultancy with crowdfunding, Santander is redefining the way that companies sponsor cycle schemes.
Matt Hutnell of Santander Universities said: “Santander is committed to supporting both higher education and local communities across the UK, and we believe that a cycle scheme such as this one, could bring significant benefits to the winning institutions.
“We saw an extremely high standard of entries from many universities, so it was quite a challenge for the judging panel to select the finalists. The level of interest has indicated the enthusiasm for cycle schemes and we hope that whoever wins will be able to make a big difference to life on campus.”
Swansea’s competition entry has seen University students working closely with staff in a bid to bring the Santander backed scheme to Swansea. Through participation in the contest, students have not only been learning new skills and gaining valuable experience, but also getting the opportunity to make a positive long term contribution to the local and campus community.
Cycle Champion James Carlos who is a Swansea University Postgraduate Student in the College of Engineering said:
“Taking part in the competition has been an incredible experience. It’s been a genuine collaboration between ourselves and partners Santander, Nextbike and Crowdfunder who’ve provided us with invaluable consultancy and advice to develop our plans for a bespoke bikeshare scheme that we believe will make a difference to the whole community by offering University students and staff, as well as local residents and visitors, a quick and affordable way of getting about the City.
“We’ve invested a great deal of energy into the competition so far and we’re over the moon that we’ve been selected to go through to the next stage. This is where the hard work really starts. We’ve got a long way to go in order to reach our target and win the contest against stiff competition from the other four UK universities. But we’re confident we can convince fellow students, University staff and members of the local community to invest in this bikeshare scheme for the City.”
If Swansea University are successful, the bikeshare scheme will launch in March 2018, bringing with it a whole host of benefits for the entire community. This is a scheme for the whole City which everybody, including visitors, will have access to. The scheme aims to link the University’s Bay and Singleton Park Campuses, offering 50 bicycles across 100 stations at 5 hubs located along Swansea’s main cycle path. Hubs will be stationed at each campus with three more situated in between at the Civic Centre, the National Waterfront Museum and at Fabian Way Park and Ride.
Craig Nowell, Director of Estates & Facilities Management and Corporate Responsibility at Swansea University said:
“We are delighted to have reached the final round of the Santander Cycles University Challenge. Our team of University staff and students have worked really hard to put together a proposal for a sustainable bikeshare scheme which will benefit the whole of Swansea: University staff and students, local residents, visitors to the area and businesses alike.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Swansea and the University. Winning the competition in partnership will enable us to bring a viable bikeshare scheme to the City which will offer the whole community a wide range of benefits. We believe this will help us to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce congestion in the City and contribute to the health and wellbeing of our community.
“We can’t do it alone though. Between now and the crowdfunding closing date of 8 December, we encourage the whole community of Swansea to support this crowdfunding activity. You don’t need to make a huge donation to the scheme. Every pledge, no matter how big or small will help us beat the competition and bring this excellent scheme here to the Swansea community.”
The crowdfunding campaign will run from midnight on 6 November to midnight on 8 December 2017 and the two winning institutions will launch their schemes in Spring of 2018. To find out more and express your interest in the campaign, visit the webpages and sign up to the campaign newsletter: www.swansea.ac.uk/bikescheme.
- For more information about the Santander Cycles University Challenge go to http://tinyurl.com/yd5tp94q.
- Crowdfunder is the UKs leading crowdfunding website. Find out more at: www.crowdfunder.co.uk.
- Nextbike UK is one of Britain's leading bike share scheme providers with over 12 years of experience and 125 schemes worldwide. Find out more at: www.nextbike.co.uk.
Picture 1: The Swansea University Estates and Facilities team.
Picture 2. Santander cycles.
- Wednesday 20 September 2017 15.56 GMT
- Wednesday 20 September 2017 14.50 GMT
- Swansea University, Tel: 01792 295050