Lambeth is one of the lowest twenty areas in the UK for child wellbeing; 21% live in extreme poverty, 34% receive Free School meals and over 25% of 10-11 year old’s are obese. Although Lambeth offers free 1-2-1 cycle training, awareness and up-take is low as outreach is limited, and the service neither covers maintenance nor caters for disabled users.
BikeSpace will be accessible to all, and will signpost and encourage users to attend the free cycle training opportunities. The project is inclusive and caters for disability groups through their inclusion project that gives support to individuals on the playground. As the Lollard Street Adventure Playground is situated between busy main roads it is vital to train Lambeth’s children and young people in cycle safety.
TfL’s Cycling Grants London has allowed BikeSpace to build a dedicated bike workshop and bike space where children and young people can bring their bikes to be fixed, maintained, and even build brand new ones. They run training courses and trips out, encouraging children to learn about the benefits of cycling safely.
The kids have helped design and build the workshop in a second hand shipping container, and the programme employs a trained mechanic to run the sessions once a week, with around 80+ kids each session. They also run Fix-It-Together workshops, have community fun days engaging the whole family in learning how to fix their bikes, train young volunteers in bike maintenance, provide Cycle Confidence training and instructor-led trips out and more!
BikeSpace collects second-hand bikesand donatesbikes which have been fixed by children who don’t have one. They believe the incentive of gaining a bike is a good format for teaching and learning.
Giving advice to other projects looking at applying for funding, BikeSpace said that many people have bike mechanic knowledge, but that doesn’t mean you can teach it to children: it’s a hard process anyway so teaching it to children is even harder! Be mindful of how you measure success. . Understand that the whole process can be slow, mistakes happen and are part of it. If the bikes are still not fixed but children are engaged, then that is the success.