Shropshire Council awarded £166,000 to deliver Bikeability cycle training
Shropshire Council has been awarded more than £160,000 from the Department for Transport to continue delivering Bikeablity cycle training to primary school children across the county.
The money is an initial grant of £166.153, with the possibility that more funding may follow. It’s to be spent in the financial year 2023/2024.
It will pay for the continued delivery of Bikeability balance bike training – getting younger children used to riding without pedals – and Level 1, 2 and 3 Bikeablity training, which gives older children the opportunity to learn the skills needed to travel to school safely on a bike.
The funding is part of Government plans to ensure that every child receives Bikeability training by the time they finish primary school – an aim shared by the council.
In Shropshire Bikeablity is provided by Shropshire Council in in partnership with Learn Cycling, Shropshire’s cycle training provider.
For more information about Bikeability training visit the Shropshire Council website.
Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said:
“This is great news. Teaching children cycling skills early on is very important for their confidence and ultimately their safety and this funding will enable us to continue providing this valuable training.
“Bikeability training builds from learning skills on the playground to completing independent journeys and provides children with valuable exercise and a positive early introduction to cycling as a fantastic form of physical activity.”
Bikeability Balance is a fun activity that helps children as young as four and five years-old to learn how to balance and control a small bike, making it easier for them to progress onto riding a pedal bike whilst not being held back by stabilisers.
With skills and confidence, this will improve the voluntary uptake in the main Bikeability cycle training, available later in primary school. In turn, it will see more children cycling as teenagers and into adulthood, for both leisure and as a mode of travel.
Shropshire Council introduced the Bikeability Balance programme at Christ Church CE Primary School, Cressage in 2017 and, thanks to a Government grant, last year 2000 children received the training.
Bikeability research has found that 40% of six-year-olds are unable to ride a bike. Part of the reason for this is that children often get stuck using a bike with stabilisers or a tricycle and are unable to progress easily to using a bike without stabilisers.
Bikeability Balance is relatively simple to deliver using an outdoor space such as a playground or, when the weather is poor, a school hall. Sessions can involve all the children in the class/year group in the same way all children will be involved in a PE lesson.
Learn Cycling have delivered Bikeability Balance in Shropshire since September 2017. Some 294 children were trained in schools during 18/19. (634 in total between September 2017 and May 2019). It has been popular with schools keen to introduce cycle training in their early years and establish a whole school cycle training programme.