Open Trail would like to give a huge thank you to players of the Postcode Lottery and the Postcode Community Trust for their grant of £1000 to help us get more local young people cycling! They provided us with the funding to help us enable young people to gain a sense of achievement, new skills, confidence and the ability to explore their local area without relying on a car. This is to help inspire them to work hard and commit to a sport of their choice.
We focused our work on two local schools in providing several series of cycle coaching sessions to groups of 12 pupils at a time, as a personal development program for the pupils, who usually came from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also delivered specialist sessions with disabled young people.
Through this funding we have had over 20 pupils learn to ride for the first time, 5 of them had either cerebral palsy or dyspraxia; their parents thought they would never learn how to ride a bike but Postcode Community Lottery funding made it possible. It brought tears to the parents eyes and they reported that the children made new friends when they could cycle on camping holidays with the other children. This has boosted their confidence and self-esteem too.
We have a group of BME ladies who were adamant that they couldn’t ride a bike and would simply not do it. Over time they showed great skills, raced each other and 3 of them even began to cycle to school and to their friend’s houses.
We had one group of teenagers that were not very active and do not do well in PE. Their PE teacher said that our cycling program made them realise that there is more to sport than ball games that are part of the curriculum. He said the “cycling kids” appreciate where their strengths are and use their coordination skills they learnt in cycling on the sports field; they apply themselves more. The teenagers have said they feel more comfortable in sport because they know they can succeed at it.
130 pupils have benefited from this funding, each child has been on a personal development path of several sessions so that cycling has had an impact on their confidence and self-esteem. This leads to many multiplier effects such as being less reliant on mum and dad’s car, improving health and fitness, and engagement in other activities such as sports, school and social events. Parents have said they have benefited too as their children’s enthusiasm for cycling has got them riding more.
One 11 year girl we helped had cerebral palsy, her parents had tried for 4 years to get her riding a bike, they’d had several professional coaching sessions but nothing worked. Within 45 minutes with Hannah Escott, racer for the GB Cycling Team and World 4X Series Champion 2016 she was pedaling independently! She pulled her brakes, jumped off the bike and gave her mum the biggest hug, she was in tears, her mum in tears and Hannah too. Her grin was overwhelming as she turned left and right with perfect balance and great control. Since then her mum reported back to us that she brought her daughter her own bike, she has made new friends on their camping holidays, cycles with the other children all night long, she’s grown in confidence, self-esteem and taught herself how to ride one handed!
Dylan is a 14 year old boy from Dudley, he hates PE! He hates getting changed in front of everyone because he is overweight, he hates running around, he hates playing rugby, football and all the usual PE sports. He admits to skiving it whenever he can, faking injury and notes from his parents. That was before the school signed up to the cycling program. “I hate bikes and it’s winter, this is stupid” he said at the start. Today: “I love cycling, it’s so straight forward, I forget I’m exercising at all! I love developing skills, measuring my own progress, I don’t even notice the cold. My coach says I’m a very strong peddler and have great power which makes me great at sprints… I’ve actually entered the 100m run on sports day on the back of this… I never thought I’d ever say that. Oh and my mum had to buy me new school trousers because I’ve lost weight… oh and my teachers say I am a lot more alert in class… oh and did I say bikes are cool?”
Open Trail would like to say a huge thank you to the players of Postcode Community Trust. With your help we have got 100s of young people on bikes, some learning to ride for the first time, some disabled children whose parents never thought they would be able to ride and some who would never have the chance to ride otherwise! By signing up to play you not only help yourself but you make an unprecedented impact on local people and communities, it’s always a win-win! You can’t lose!