School pupils in South Leeds are being given the skills and confidence to cycle in their home city, as work gets underway to improve cycling facilities across the region.
Schools across the south and east of the city have signed up to a free pilot scheme –The Cycle Skills Library, delivered by charity The Works on behalf of NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The scheme is being funded by the Clinical Commissioning Group in a bid to improve health, confidence and activity among young people in south and east Leeds communities, particularly those who do not have access to a bike.
A mobile bike library is visiting 25 schools across south and east Leeds, providing a bike and holding handling skills, road safety and bike maintenance training sessions over 12 weeks for the students. Having a ‘loan’ system means the pupils use the same bike at each session which will aid confidence.
The scheme aims to reach hundreds of pupils within the next 12 months and comes alongside a £21million improvement scheme in Leeds and Bradford to increase cycling as part of the Tour de France legacy, including the 23km the cycle superhighway, across Leeds and Bradford, set to open within next five years.
Pupils will be monitored on a regular basis to see if their confidence, cycling and maintenance skills, enthusiasm for staying active and cycling activity have increased, generating information to help the CCG to develop future schemes.
Dr Andy Harris, Clinical Chief Officer at NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Cycling is a great way for young people to get active and to gain confidence and independence. We know that being active every day improves health and wellbeing and this scheme will give equip our young residents with the skills to do this safely in our local communities and is particularly aimed at those who do not have access to a bike. We hope to really inspire them to enjoy cycling and to keep active in the future.”
In addition to the school based-sessions, The Cycle Skills Library will be running free training sessions in local parks during school holidays. Local 8-16 year-olds will be invited to “turn up and ride” and can either bring their own bikes or borrow a bike from the library for the session.
Elliott Turnbull, CEO at The Works Skatepark Charity said:
“We are delighted to be working with the NHS in south and east Leeds to reach so many local kids to help inspire them to get active. We’re really excited to be running the free sessions over the summer holidays – they will be a great opportunity to have some fun and pick up bike skills along the way. There’s no need to book, simply turn up and get pedalling!”
The sessions will run from Monday 20 July 2015, at locations in the South and East of Leeds. A timetable can be found on www.theworksskatepark.com