Rise, a North East-based health and wellbeing charity, is helping families in Sunderland to get active with a new cycling scheme.
Through its Bikeability Project, the charity is providing bikes and free training sessions specifically for families and children who do not currently have the opportunity or means to access cycle training.
Rise successfully secured £65,000 funding from the Bikeability Trust to deliver the scheme, which includes the creation of a cycle hub and training centre in a safe, off-road setting at Thompson Park in Southwick.
The Bikeability training sessions are hosted and delivered by the Sunderland Young People’s Bike Project. Rise has commissioned its team of qualified instructors to provide the bikes and safety equipment to help novice riders practice their road safety and cycling proficiency skills.
Suzanne McDermott, infrastructure and environment strategic lead at Rise, masterminded the project. She said: “’We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to secure this significant funding from the Bikeability Trust to increase the availability of cycle training in Sunderland. Our mission at Rise is to empower people to look after their health and wellbeing by providing opportunities and resources that help more people to be physically active.
“An added benefit of the Bikeability Project is by widening participation in cycling, we’re not only helping people to get more active, but we are also promoting the role that cycling can play in helping the environment as a safe mode of transport for children to get to school and adults to make their journey to work.”
Craig from Sunderland, father of one of the young participants, said: “My son attended a learn to ride session at Thompson Park and the trainers were great. They were patient, built his confidence in a fun way and by the end of the session my son was riding his bike and hasn’t stopped since. We had been trying unsuccessfully for a few months. Thank you for giving him a skill for life and many days of fun to come. I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to teach their little ones to ride a bike.”
The Rise Bikeability Project is one of forty-four schemes across the country to receive a share of more than £1.6million that the Department of Transport provided to the Bikeability Trust’s Widening Participation Fund, which aims to fund projects that help children and young people who would not usually learn how to cycle become confident cyclists.
Emily Cherry, CEO at the Bikeability Trust, said: “Through the Widening Participation Fund, The Bikeability Trust is investing in projects that remove the barriers to cycling and help children who wouldn’t usually learn how to cycle get pedalling.
“We’re proud to support Rise. They have some fantastic plans in place to support families in Sunderland to learn to cycle together. This will teach families an essential life skill and help embed health and sustainable travel choices in their daily routines. We can’t wait to see the project in action.”
Rise is one of 42 Active Partnerships in the UK who work with local government, the business community and the health and education sectors to help communities across Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to improve access to health and wellbeing activities.