- Posted on January 16th, 2024
The Courtyard – Reducing Travel Impacts and Costs with Bikes
The Courtyard is a theatre and arts venue in Hereford, England.
The Courtyard’s Challenge
At The Courtyard, we initially set out to try and reduce our environmental impact from audience travel as our Arts Council England carbon report in 2018/19 suggested that this made up almost 75% of our carbon footprint, so we thought there was good scope to work with there. The Courtyard is based in the rural county of Herefordshire where 1.19 billion vehicle miles were travelled on roads in 2022. Starting off with little to no resources to achieve these goals meant that we had to open doors through lots of networking via Julie’s Bicycle, peer to peer sharing and relationship building with local authorities.
We wanted to take the next step and reduce our waste carbon footprint. We needed to move away from the ‘skip mentality’ and reduce/segregate our waste which is very difficult when it comes from so many different streams such as food and drink operations, visitor waste, business waste and production waste.
We have had consistent dialogue with Pedicargo, a local Herefordshire business, since we held an environmental exhibition in 2020 which incorporated their work. They have collected our office paper waste for 15 years and through these renewed relations we were able to understand their plans for expansion of their operations and the timescales during which we had to change our waste streams to align our move with the scale up of their waste collections. The plan was for Pedicargo to collect all of our glass to convert to sand for local flood defences, and food waste to compost for local fields. This was ambitious, but something tangible that we could celebrate; enabling us to kickstart changes needed and something our staff and stakeholders could really get behind.
Moving from waste vehicles to bicycles aligned really well with our encouragement of sustainable transport, especially with our use of Beryl Bikes.
Herefordshire Council have started to recognise The Courtyard as a local leader and example of ethical environmental practice. The Courtyard’s Head of Operations was appointed to the board of the Herefordshire Climate and Nature Partnership (HCNP) enabling The Courtyard to engage with local leaders and align the organisation with local policies and roadmaps. The moves have enabled The Courtyard to be a designated stop on the city’s first electric bus route, to sign off on an Electric Vehicle transport hub from the local network provider, and to host local environmental conferences.
Beryl awarded us Community Champions status and they give us 3000 free minutes of Beryl Bike travel credit to distribute annually to our staff and volunteers.
The Courtyard has received regional acknowledgement of achievements and was nominated for sustainability awards by the West Midlands Federation of Small Businesses and Hereford and Worcester Chamber of Commerce in 2022. We also received national recognition in 2022 through the Cultural Health and Wellbeing Alliance for the work on environmental issues including travel and transport.
Staff have certainly become more enthusiastic regarding environmental challenges and it has definitely helped shift mentality towards more sustainable practices across the organisation.
Successes have generated momentum and building our reputation and green credentials has certainly helped us access funding from a wider variety of sources. We are looking at starting a repair café and applying for a grant for our own e-cargo bike to move costumes and sets from our wardrobes and storage across the city from 2024. We received funding for two staff pool bikes from Herefordshire Council in 2022, which has reduced the number of car journeys undertaken, particularly by the Education Team who travel regularly to schools and colleges.
We have partnered with Good Journey to encourage the use of public transport to come to The Courtyard via their website, offering incentives for bus and train travel.
Julie’s Bicycle, Richard Dilks from COMO, Ian Chapman from NMITE/European Social Fund and Wenea helped signpost and deliver our new Electric Vehicle sustainable Transport hub due for delivery in late 2023. The new hub will help us generate £11,000 per annum and is being installed by the local network provider to provide seven dual chargers across fourteen bays (5 DC, 2 AC) for our visitors and neighbours.
We have managed to save costs by reducing waste, and generate income via land rent, or funding, further enhancing the commercial sustainability of the organisation moving forward.
This case study was written by The Courtyard