A Leicestershire learn to ride cycling programme funded by children’s charity Oakland Foundation has been hailed a huge success.
Organised through Active Together and delivered by local provider B-Buddies, the programme targets children and young people in receipt of free school meals and who hadn’t yet learnt to ride a bike due to access or affordability. The programme delivered a mix of after-school sessions in targeted priority schools as well as offered evening and weekend community participation, with bikes and helmets provided which enabled 163 children to take part in the programme.
Prior to starting the Set, Pedal- Go! programme only 19% of children were meeting the Chief Medical Officers (CMS) physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes or more each day to help improve health, and of the children taking part 92% did not have access to a bike and 57% on average had never ridden a bike.
Since taking part in the programme 66% of children wanted to go out on their bikes more, 37% were enjoying being more active and 67% of children have improved in their cycling proficiency and ability, with 82% of parents/carers now interested in additional opportunities to further improve their child’s cycling ability and confidence.
Oakland Foundation Grant Application Coordinator Debbie Roberts commented: “We value and very much appreciate feedback from those we support. Active Together’s evaluation of the Set Pedal Go programme gave a clear understanding of just how much the children had enjoyed but also learnt, developed and grown in confidence by taking part.”
The Oakland Foundation charity supports children under the age of 16 and their families through initiatives based around education, health and nutrition, and sport, with their aim to ensure children, irrespective of social background or physical ability, can participate.
Following the end of the programme delivery, Active Together have now ‘gifted’ over 200 bikes to schools for them to support children and young people who currently don’t own or have access to a bike, with ‘loan’ schemes managed by the schools involved which include running continued after-school bike clubs as well as short and long-term loans to individual children to use for active travel and recreational use.
Active Together Sports Development Manager Geoff Maltby stated: “Learning to ride a bike is a vital life skill that every child should have. Unfortunately there are many children and young people who don’t have access or opportunity to do this for a whole host of socio-economic reasons.
“We are delighted that this programme reached so many children and young people and the impact this will have on their long-term health and wellbeing.”
Comments from parents of children who took part included:
“This was a life changing opportunity for us. I have a chronic illness and have been unable to teach my daughter to ride. She’s also struggled with confidence. Within 5 mins of second lesson she was peddling. By the end of week 4 she could ride the bike safely and confidently.”
“Great sessions, my son really enjoyed the course and the instructors were great. My son quickly learnt how to ride with their help and guidance.”
“He wants to cycle to school from now on [which is a 15min walk away]”
Barwell Academy remarked: “The children fully enjoyed their experience with B-Bubbies and I am so impressed with how their confidence has grown throughout the 4 weeks. It was amazing to see the progress that has been made by all children and I know they are all immensely proud of the fact that they can now all ride a bike!”