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James and Monica with one of the Santander bikes.

A new company has joined the campaign to bring a cycle hire scheme to the University of Birmingham’s campus.

Willmott Dixon, who are creating the visionary Green Heart have today pledged £5,000 towards the #bikesforbrum project as part of a national competition run by Santander.

Willmott Dixon Principle Sustainable Development Lead James Willcox said: "There is no doubt that this project will benefit the overall health and wellbeing of staff and students, as well as the sustainability in the local community. Willmott Dixon has a strong relationship with the University and, as a keen cyclist and British Cycling volunteer, I am delighted that we are supporting their bid in bringing a bike scheme to the campus."

The University is competing with four other organisations to compete for the scheme which will transform the way students and staff travel across campus and between buildings. Only the top two institutions will win.

The University has already smashed its original £47,000 target through crowdfunding, but in order to win an investment of £100,000 from Santander to get the scheme up and running, it needs to raise more than the other organisations competing. Yesterday, a new stretch target of £60,000 was announced. This would establish at least eight bike stations at locations across campus and no fewer than 50 bikes from the outset.

University Sustainable Logistics Manager Monica Guise said: "This pledge is perfectly timed. We’re working hard to make sure that we are at the top of the table when the campaign finishes tomorrow. Every penny helps, and the contribution Willmott Dixon has made is extraordinary. I’d like to thank them for their support."

You can access the crowdfunding campaign online and make a contribution. A contribution of as little as £5 can get you a reward to mark your involvement with the programme. 

The campaign is live now and completes at 10pm on 8th December 2017.

You can follow the campaign on social media using the hashtag #bikesforbrum.

For further information, please contact Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Sally Xerri-Brooks on +44 (0)121 414 3984.

The competition was open to 69 of the 81 UK University partners as it excluded those already covered by an existing cycle scheme.

The universities which took part were:
Northumbria, Newcastle, Lancaster, Leicester, Essex, Swansea, Leeds, Chester, Bath Spa, Portsmouth, East Anglia, Cardiff Metropolitan, St. Andrews, Cranfield, Royal Holloway, Nottingham, York, Kent, Brunel University London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Plymouth, and Surrey.

The two winning universities will be announced in December 2017 with the scheme set to be launched in Spring 2018.

Santander Cycles now covers 100 square kilometres of London, making it the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe. Since launching in July 2010, more than 63 million journeys have been made, with last year the most successful year in the scheme’s history, with over 10.3 million hires. Among the improvements made to the popular scheme last year were the introduction of Blaze Laserlights to all 11,500 bikes, a new Santander Cycles Business Accounts scheme, and more bikes and docking stations, including at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and more recently Brixton.

Santander, through its Santander Universities division, maintains partnerships with close to 1,200 academic institutions in 20 countries. Santander Universities was introduced in the UK in 2007 and the bank is already collaborating with 83 British Universities and Higher Education Institutions, with agreements focused on promoting international exchange, entrepreneurial activities and the mobility of students and researchers within the network.