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Active SMiles

Active SMiles is a project run by the Health Protection Hub which uses financial incentives in the form of £50 supermarket vouchers to “nudge” employees to try active commuting (walking/cycling/scooting) to work. The aim is that these employees will continue to actively commute beyond the project period and will inspire others to do so.

Participants sign-up to do 10 active commutes in a calendar month and complete a post-pilot survey, with support from the Health Protection Hub and using the Strava fitness tracking app for monitoring and validation. 

Spring/Summer 2023

We are seeking employers to work with through spring/summer 2023 – ideally able to recruit up to 20 employees each for the project. There is no financial commitment required from the employer (unless they decide to make investments in infrastructure such as cycle parking, lockers or showers, which is not a requirement of the scheme) and only requires a couple of hours work from one point of contact to help promote the scheme among employees and connect us to participants. In return they’ll have a workforce that is fitter and happier and it will help address any corporate aims along the lines of staff wellbeing or environmental concerns.

Anyone interested please email

The benefits

Active commuting has a wealth of benefits for employers, employees and wider society and helps people save money on fuel. Benefits include:

  • improved physical and mental health and wellbeing (leading to fewer sick days)
  • improved air quality and
  • reductions in climate change gas emissions.

Pilot project

The scheme was trialled in October 2022 and the pilot was a great success, with 20 participants clocking-up nearly 1000 miles of cycling and walking during the month, with excellent feedback from both the participants and their employers. One of the participants was interviewed by Radio Shropshire and eloquently describes the benefits of the scheme – Download and listen to the Active Smiles BBC Radio Interview.

Participants’ comments after they’d completed the project included:

“A great scheme which I enjoyed very much. Reasons being: 1. Doing something physical before and after work. 2. Trying to hit a target of 10 or more commutes forced me to get out there. 3. Being part of a team on Strava and giving each other kudos and positive comments. 4. Positive mindset, fresh air, exercise, doing alternative farther routes on the way home. 5. This scheme has kick started my enthusiasm for getting out on the bike again.”

“There were doubts before starting active smiles, 'Am I going to be able to to do this?'. 'How will I cope/deal with cycling on roads when not on a cycle path'. 'How will it make me feel through the day?'. However, soon after I made the first commute I soon realised I could do this. When completing a commute it makes you feel so good, and the benefits are an all rounder for oneself and the environment.”

“The scheme is a great incentive to start commuting, I personally enjoyed the challenge of trying to stay at the top of the leader board on the Strava group.”

“The scheme was a good incentive to kick start myself and others to start using my bike again and i would recommend it if it comes up again.”

The scheme coincided nicely with a requirement to loose some of my Covid pounds. The scheme forced me to rethink when I do exercise and by making that effort at the start and end of the day has paid huge dividends. I managed to shed 12 pounds and feel very much like I'm back in control again. Cycling to work will not be as numerous as in lighter months but commuting via a 2 miles walk is very much doable.

“I've really enjoyed the challenge and it's made me more alert in the morning having some fresh air whilst getting my heart rate up. It's helped mentally saying good morning to other people as I pass them, seeing the same people in the morning and evening with a friendly smile.”

“I think the scheme was a great idea. I have occasionally commuted in the past but this scheme got me to commit to doing it regularly, even though the weather wasn't that great.”

Last updated: 05/04/2023 16:40