Sell Campaign 2: Promoting Health Messages

  1. Plan
  2. Design and Build
  3. Sell
  4. Evaluate

Background and aim

This is a thematic campaign which runs in conjunction with the other campaigns 1 – 7. The promotional message of health benefits and cycling will feature throughout these campaigns. Health was identified as the biggest motivator to change in the staff travel survey carried out by CHIPS partners in autumn 2016. The use of such a powerful motivator will have a positive effect on behaviour change and promote the cycle highway.

Target audience

  • Employees in identified workplaces
  • Individuals and groups within communities local to the cycle highway
  • General public

Outputs and impact

  • A suite of health messages especially related to benefits of physical activity and how walking and cycling can contribute to this.
  • Identification of relevant health issues related to inactivity, as well as mental well-being and importance of air quality on health.
  • Increased awareness of the health benefits of cycling, and increased motivation to cycle.
  • Increased cycle journeys on the cycle highway.

Examples of interventions

Promoting, sharing and discussing health issues and the benefits of cycling (and other active commuting behaviour) at various events.

  • Health check events
  • Health information posters and discussions
  • One-to-one motivational discussions
  • Taster sessions for cycling/fun events
  • Links with health care providers/GPs promoting cycling and stocking maps
  • Health-related staff competitions in workplaces
  • Sharing online links to health issues and social media campaign about the benefits of active travel
  • Healthy cyclist ambassador to share positive experience of commuting by bicycle.

Plan of action

Three women and two bikes having fun Sustrans engaged with nursing staff at Marie Curie hospice to promote health benefits of cycling to work

Step 1: Assess information available

  • Draw together key health messages around cycling and reducing car usage.
  • Work with stakeholders to develop more information around what elements of health motivate people to cycle.
  • Gather existing resources available locally including those using the cycle highway.
  • Develop resources for information and display at events.

Step 2: Develop resources

  • Work with key stakeholders [such as Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland] to identify resources and develop new material if necessary.
  • Work with active travel champions to share resources, plan and run activities.
  • Develop case studies of improved health through the project.

Step 3: Run activities

Work with employers and human resources within workplaces, particularly those identified as part of CHIPS project, to share health-related messages with employees on a regular basis (develop a calendar of health events – see ‘suite’ of health-based activities in annual plan) using a variety of communication methods e.g. inter-organisation newsletters, intranet and emails.

  • Attend or organise health fairs
  • Whole organisation activities
  • Led bike rides
  • Lunchtime bike rides or walks
  • Cycle-to-work challenges
  • Bike and body MOT (combine bicycle maintenance checks with health checks; blood pressure, weight and more).
  • See more detail in Campaign 4.

Use resources and information regarding health benefits at these workplace events. For example, provide simple facts like the number of calories burned by walking or cycling just two miles. Provide information on calories and body fat. A selection of ways of getting this exercise, including commuting by bike/walking. Alongside this could be information about the health effects of too much body weight.

Use resources and information for motivational discussions with staff groups and individuals.

Example of a motivational conversation:

  • Have you thought about cycling to work? Ans: ‘No’
  • How do you feel about your health? Ans: ‘Could do with some exercise to lose weight or get fit’.
  • How do you feel about using your commute to work to help? Ans: `Not sure, haven’t cycled in a while and don’t want to come to work all sweaty.’
  • We could look at a route and take it slowly? Ans: `Maybe, when I have time.’
  • What makes you want to get fit/lose weight?  Ans: `Want to be able to run with my children.’
  • What’s going to happen if you carry on without exercise….could adding 10 minutes at the start and end of the day be workable?

This format could also be used in community settings.


  • Number of events held based on health messages
  • Feedback from workplaces, communities and individuals
  • Record of resources developed
  • Assess contribution to success of overall project


This campaign will run alongside the other campaigns throughout the two years of the project. The health message and motivational effect will be used on a regular basis in workplaces and community settings. The initial phase of the project will probably see the most intensive use of materials but through learning and the development of the project more resources will be developed.

Case studies

Sustrans organised a number of activities in workplaces such as the Marie Curie hospice in east Belfast where nurses care for terminally ill patients. Taster sessions on bikes and lunchtime cycles for staff were arranged to show the positive physical and mental effects of cycling. After a stress-busting lunchtime cycle for staff, one employee said: “I had a headache before, now I feel ready for the afternoon.” This workplace is located close to the Comber Greenway, cycle highway so staff were signposted to using it. Another nearby very large employer is the Ulster Hospital. Sustrans worked with the hospital’s Health and Wellbeing Manager to organise a range of activities including Step Challenges, lunchtime led walks and health fairs. The health message of cycling to work was presented alongside workplace promotion of weight loss groups and smoking cessation among others.

Sustrans highlighted health messages around cycling on the Well Hub, a website used to promote health and wellbeing across a number of Belfast employers.

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