In 2019, North Beckton PTA were awarded £10,000 over three years and have delivered their final year in 2020. This project in Newham supports children with Special Educational Needs and their families, teaching and improving their ability to cycle together by providing suitable bikes, cycle training and free bike repairs.
The aim of this project was to provide the necessary facilities and training for these young people to be able to learn to ride, alongside their family members, in a safe and enjoyable way. This was achieved through a weekly bike club where the children learnt to ride in a space that was traffic-free and then over-time, as the children became more confident with their cycling, rides would take place in the local community. Siblings and parents were then invited along so families could ride together, whilst being supported by trained staff members, in order to build the parents' confidence in cycling with their children. Alongside the bike club, children and parents could have their bikes repaired for free, by qualified members of staff, to ensure they are safe and road-worthy. As well as training them in basic bike repair and maintenance to support cycling as a long-term activity.
Through WCGL, they were able to purchase additional specialized bikes, enabling them to support more children with additional needs. The project managed to support 68 participants this year, which exceeds their target of 63.
A class teacher commented:
“To see child X joining in with cycling lessons with their peers was an eye-opener to us all. We shouldn’t put limits on what any child can achieve. All they need is the correct support and encouragement.”
This highlights that projects that support disability groups to cycle are able to achieve short-term outcomes and long-term impacts. Teaching SEND children to cycle gives them the confidence and ability to take part in more activities and highlights to others that they can and want to take part.