“I wanted to do something positive. I wanted to do something to change the world for the better”, Poppy Brett.
What is your job about?
Our vision as an organization is to transform people lives and the environment through cycling. We are not about the people who already cycle but we are about trying to reach out the people who do not cycle and to encourage and enable them to get on a bike in order to do things like improve their physical and mental health, find low cost ways to get around the city, enable them to travel independently and give people the freedom to travel.
I remember a long time ago there used to be this thing in which you could choose one thing, just one thing to improve the environment and it might be take a bag with you when you go shopping so that you do not use plastic bags. For me, one thing that can have a huge impact was get a bicycle and use it for my small journeys around the city. Within the city something like 50% of journeys are under 3 miles. 3 miles is a really easy distance to cycle for almost anyone, anyone can cycle that far quite easily.
What issues do you address?
When people hear the word cycling they just think about transport but really it is not just about that. In giving someone transport you are giving them a low cost independent mean of travel, a mean to look after their physical and mental health. Obviously, you are helping to have a positive impact on the environment by getting people out of cars, so you are reducing congestion and air pollution.
What moved you to take action?
I wanted to do something positive. I wanted to do something to change the world for the better, particularly looking at environmental issues.
What were the obstacles that you had to overcome?
I have been in the organization for 12 years and I would say for the first 6 or 7 years it was really, really hard to persuade funders that what we were doing was valuable and worthwhile. People did not quite get that cycling was more than just cycling in itself, that it also had numerous other benefits. We were trying to explain why cycling was important but funders just did not get it. So it was a struggle to bring money in the early days and in fact my job when I first started it was just the fundraiser.
What helped you keep going in hard times?
The passion and belief in what we are doing and the fact that we started to be taken as an example from other people and organizations, which means that we were actually doing something right.
What first prompted you to become interested in environmental issues and when was that?
That goes back a long long way really. Probably when I was 16 or 17 and I was doing a geography A-level and part of the course was looking at the state of the world environment. There was a lot on the news at that time. I never have given any thoughts before but I think that course was my kind of eyes open. Since then I just became very passionate, it became my ambition to do something to change the world for the better, particularly looking at environmental issues. I wanted to address the environmental issues that the world was facing.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being very happy) where would you rate how you feel about your life?