Celebrating 20 Years of Brightwayz

By Alison Holland

Published: March 25, 2024

Brightwayz 20 years with dog walker, tandem rider, cyclist, mobility scooter and scooter rider icons

It was 20 years ago this month that we signed on the dotted line and Brightwayz social enterprise was launched. To mark the occasion we invited former staff and some of our local partners and supporters to join us to celebrate. We were also honoured to have our local mayor Cllr Emily Fedorowycz join us too and give an address about our role and history helping improve active travel in our local and wider community.

Looking back is always interesting so we put together a display of photos and past newspaper cuttings alongside current information about the products we offer and the projects we are running now.

Brightwayz 20 year display Brightwayz Staff, 20th Anniversary Brightwayz 20 year display board 2

Inspired by a Walking Bus
Brightkidz, as we were originally known as, was inspired by the local walking bus we set up over 20 years ago. Organising this scheme to reduce school run traffic at our village primary school made me realise there was a need for more information and support for others wanting to do similar schemes. This included resources such as child-size high vis waistcoats (required for insurance) as well as stickers, badges etc to promote the schemes. Although we started as an information website we quickly started selling the products needed which gave us the income to keep going.

Early Days as Brightkidz
Our innovative idea for our social enterprise and early plans help us gain some great free publicity locally and nationally. Winning several ‘start up awards’ such as the Barclays Handbag.com Women in Business ‘Environment’ Award gave us a great boost. Our range of products grew and the information we provided on our website expanded to cover more than ‘walking buses’ but other schemes such as ‘park and stride’ and ‘be bright be seen’ activity ideas.

Growing Up as Brightwayz
Since 2019 we have realised that active travel support and resources are not just in demand for children but for all ages. As organisations such as hospitals, universities, community groups and businesses aspire to achieve net zero - and as transport is the biggest source of carbon emissions - our offering of support, products and information to help adults have greener travel choices has become more relevant.

Support from Corporates
Many corporate organisations understand that they can increase the positive impact on society by choosing to ‘buy social’ - go beyond just ‘CSR’ spend and use their other usual budgets for marketing, services etc with social enterprises such as ours. This means profit is ploughed back into social or environmental campaigns and this spending brings huge positive benefits. 

Here at Brightwayz we launched our ‘Brand My Thingy’ range of general promotional products. This  has grown in popularity with our corporate clients who ‘buy social’ and enabled us to invest more in our community projects such as ‘Cycle-Lingo’ - providing cycles and cycle training for Ukrainian refugees.

Safety 1st ET article Playing Out High Vis . Cycle Lingo with Ukrainian Flag

Local Projects and National Products
Now we split our staff and time between doing a whole host of local active travel projects here in North Northamptonshire as well as improving and expanding our range of active travel promotion products which are popular across the UK. 

The Next 20 Years of Brightwayz?
We hope to expand our local activities and continue to develop our range of products and the information we provide. We already have some great national partners including Modeshift, Playing Out CIC and Cycling UK and we hope to develop more partnerships as we love working with others who share our aims in some way.

Here’s to the next 20 years of Brightwayz and promoting safe, active, sustainable travel for all!

Here at Brightwayz social enterprise we love to provide information and tips to help you, your colleagues, friends and family travel in safe, active, sustainable ways for everyday journeys.

Our unique range of products is here to help support your active travel campaigns and 100% of profits from sales is ploughed back to support the work we do. Take a look at our range here and find something to help you inspire others to travel in good ways.