Brunel in Top 5 for Santander Cycles

Brunel University London has made it to the final five of the Santander Cycles University Challenge, a unique initiative which offered 23 Santander UK university partners the chance to develop their own bespoke cycle hire scheme.

To be in with a chance of winning, we will launch a crowdfunding campaign in November to raise funds to meet the operating costs of its proposal. The winner will be announced in December.

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education and International) Andrew George said: “This is a great way for us to develop sustainable travel at Brunel, with bike docking stations on campus and also in Uxbridge and Hillingdon Hospital. We will need the support of the entire Brunel community behind us. The two universities that achieve the highest percentage over their fundraising target will receive the capital costs for a cycle scheme valued up to £100,000.”

Thanks to the legacy left by the Brunel Borrow a Bicycle scheme, we know there’s a need for a bike loan scheme on campus. Led by Max Mills and Jess Luscombe, two West London Cycle Champions funded by Transport for London, London Cycling Campaign and West Trans, the pilot scheme has now closed after a successful year piloting bicycle use across campus. In this time, 120 staff and students registered and 70 completed the two-week loan. If Brunel is successful with Santander, this could be an improved service similar to the loan scheme.

President of the Union of Brunel Students Pauldy Otermans, who has been involved in the competition, outlines Brunel’s proposal: “Our proposal would initially see up to 50 bicycles based around campus. We’ll find out if we win in December and if we do - the scheme will be up and running next Spring. This is not just an extremely exciting but a much needed opportunity to massively improve the student experience of our current and future students.”

Vice President of the Union of Brunel Students Dev Aditya further adds to this: “This is incredibly exciting and I will give all my support to our sports clubs and societies who are extremely passionate to support this campaign.”

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, 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 local 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.”

Look out for more news on this throughout October.

Brunel, together with the University of Birmingham, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Surrey and Swansea University have been shortlisted from 23 entrants for the chance to win the capital funding for a cycle scheme. The Brunel team has had support from Santander and its cycle partner Nextbike, which runs more than 130 schemes worldwide, as well as advice from Crowdfunder, the UK’s leading crowdfunding platform, on how to raise funds to cover the on-going operating costs.