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Case study: Working with Sustrans to fund Primary School bike clubs

Case study: Working with Sustrans to fund Primary School bike clubs

Sustrans officer, Lucy, had been working in several schools across the city, helping more children to cycle and travel actively to school. In 2019 Lucy identified that there were several schools which could really benefit from having a regular bike club, to increase the children’s skills and confidence on a bike and have some fun.

Using funding from Active Sussex, Sustrans decided to target children in KS2 (aged 7-11), especially those who were inactive or hadn’t learnt to ride a bike yet and don’t have access to a bike at home.

All 3 schools targeted children in receipt of free school meals. Each school has since run 20 bike club sessions from April 2021 – April 2022. All bike clubs are finding ways to continue to run with the support of school staff, Sustrans volunteers, parents and Active Sussex.

St John the Baptist Primary School

Before the Active Sussex funding was used, there was a bike club but children had to bring their own bikes, they had 10-12 children from across the school attending. This proved to be quite limiting for those that didn’t own their own bikes.

In May 2021, funded bikes arrived – 6 funded by Active Sussex and 24 funded by PE budget. This allowed the club to be opened up to all children and saw a fantastic 56 applications submitted as a result.

“I thought it was fun because of the games and I loved it when we helped a boy to ride more confidently. I can’t wait to go again next term.”
– A child from the bike club

 

Peter Gladwin Primary bike club

“It was amazing that the club is suddenly open to lots more children.”
– School Champion

Peter Gladwin Primary School

The school have run a very successful and over-subscribed after-school bike club since 2015. The club has always been run voluntarily by staff who are keen cyclists themselves, and is free to all children. While they try to make the club accessible to all our children, not all families have suitable bikes, and some have no bikes at all.

Sustrans suggested they apply for the funding for some new bikes to use in school and for some staffing for the bike club. This meant they could involve other cyclists in the community in the bike club, including a school parent who is a cycling coach, and a trained Breeze ride leader.

St John the Baptist bike club

Impact of the funding

Having a range of suitably-sized quality bikes available meant that all children could get involved and discover the joys of cycling. The school were able to ensure all Y5 and Y6 children had their own bike and helmet to use throughout their level 1 & level 2 Bikeability training, and every child in both classes passed their Bikeability in 2021. Lunchtime sports coaches also now use the bikes with groups of key stage 2 children every Monday.

The bike club shows children how much fun cycling can be, and builds their skills and independence. The school field is very sloped, allowing the children to build up climbing skills and resilience. The bike club usually has an equal split of girls and boys which offers a more inclusive environment for the children.

Positive impact on participants

One Y5 child learned to ride on one of the funded school bikes with the help of Bike-it Lucy from Sustrans. A couple of months later passed his Bikeability level 1 and soon after cycled all the way up the hill beyond Foredown Tower on a South Downs school trip. When he got to the top, he stopped, looked around in amazement at the landscape and said, “I didn’t know all this was here! This is the best day ever”.

Peter Gladwin Primary bike club 2
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