Our workers have been getting on their bikes after years away from the saddle as part of a new cycle to work scheme aimed at promoting a fit and healthy workforce.
We are pushing the boundaries of our Health & Safety responsibilities to embrace a well-being dimension by encouraging its 431-strong workforce to abandon their cars and public transport in favour of peddle power.
We are committed to introducing practical, tangible initiatives to promote greater health awareness among staff spread across the company’s seven sites.
The first phase of the scheme began in May and was immediately embraced by staff as a means of encouraging greater physical exercise and even weight management for those aiming to shed a few pounds. Others will get to join once the rolling programme opens again in October.
The Cycle to Work scheme is a government-backed scheme offering company employees up to £1000 to purchase bikes tax-free, which workers are then able to pay off.
Two men who have taken to pedalling their way to fitness are Gary Mason, from the Ballygawley site and AG Lorry Driver Colin Wilson, based at the Fivemiletown site who were among the first round of AG staff to get on their bikes in May.
Gary (42), from Killyman, mounts his saddle twice a week and cycles the five miles to Dungannon where he then shares lifts to work with colleagues.
“I haven’t really been on a bike for about 15 years, apart from trying out my son’s when he got a racer last year but that was only a few laps.
“Apart from playing a bit of football down the years. I haven’t been doing much else. Luckily I’ve always been skinny but I’m hoping by this time next year I’ll feel fitter for it.”
His new mode of transport has also developed into a hobby he can now share with his 16-year-old son Dylan, a keen cyclist.
“It’s great after getting the bike I go out with him and I’ve been on a few runs of about eight miles or so but hopefully if I keep at it I’ll be able to join him on the long runs.”
Colin Wilson spends all day behind the wheel of a 44-tonne lorry so he is glad to get the chance of getting on his new bike purchased through the scheme.
Already an active man who swims and jogs, the 47-year-old said the bike offers something a bit different for him.
“Some mornings you just don’t fancy going for a run but the bike is there and it’s a good alternative – and it gets you to where you have to be.
“I cycle to work, weather dependent, a couple of days a week and it’s great to get out on it.”
He’s no stranger to road cycling having participated in a number of charity cycle events which have seen him pedalling up to 100 miles for good causes.
Cathy Read, AG’s HR Business Partner said:
“The scheme is part of the company’s overarching commitment to promoting overall improved well-being and better lifestyles among our workforce and we are delighted to have seen instant and full uptake of the first phase.
“We look forward to offering the second phase to other staff in the autumn and we’re confident it will be received with just as much enthusiasm.”