Hjaltland Housing Association
Environs Hjaltland Housing Association is a community-based social housing provider, providing over 800 homes in the Shetland Isles. In 2019, they received funding from the Social Housing Fund to make it easier for residents to walk, wheel and cycle.
Issues with safety and storage
Prior to receiving funding, the Hjaltland Housing Association regularly had to ask residents to remove bikes, pushchairs, prams and scooters from the communal areas. Blocking corridors and access points, this equipment was a fire hazard and residents had flagged that this was an issue.
In 2019, Hjaltland was successful in receiving £25,000 from the Social Housing Fund for two sites, one in Scalloway, a village on the west of the main island, and the other between Scalloway and the main town of Lerwick. Both projects were based in SIMD 4 quintiles and, together, they would provide storage space for over 150 residents to benefit from.
The funding covered the purchase, groundworks and installation of a mix of wheel and bike stores and were completed using a local specialist provider.
The wheel stores are now on-site and a combined bike and walking aid store has been constructed from dead space within a residence in another site. The remaining bike stores have been delivered to four further sites and groundworks completed. Those sites completed are in regular use. One double ended bike store was relocated to another site as a result of an architect incorporating storage within a currently under construction venue.
The stores have been well received and are used regularly: close and flat areas are now clear whilst enabling residents to store bikes, prams and mobility aids safely and securely.
“The bike store has made such a difference”
A resident living in the Anderson Buildings in Scalloway said: “The bike store has made such a difference. I used to have nowhere to store my bike and had to take it a flight of stairs into my flat where it took up space in my hallway.”
Ali Morris, Technical Officer with Hjaltland Housing Association said:
Before installing the bike stores, the Association was regularly asking tenants to relocate bikes, prams and scooters back into the flats to meet our fire safety policy. The bike and wheels stores have provided a practical storage solution and have made a big difference for the occupants in flatted developments who can now safely store their bikes, prams and scooters in accessible locations. It has also greatly reduced staff time which was spent asking occupants to remove items from stairwells.
Hjaltland Housing Association also signposts tenants who are considering buying a bike to the non-profit charity Shetland Community Bike Project which repairs and restores second-hand bikes for resale.
Working in partnership
The bid was a real team effort: residents identified an initial need, and Hjaltland Housing Association prepared the bid in consultation with Shetland Islands Council’s Transport Policy and Project Officer. This Officer isa member of the multi-agency Active Travel Group, which coordinates efforts to develop further active travel infrastructure for Shetland.