On Your Bike! Birmingham City Council Helps Take Young People For A Ride

Birmingham City Council has presented Start Again Project with 19 Mountain bikes to help the young people they work with improve their mobility and access opportunities.

The Council’s Big Birmingham Bike Scheme which launched in October 2015 is part of a £54.4 million investment from the Department of Transport and match funders to help Birmingham residents improve their mobility and improve their mental and physical health. The scheme which will be funded from 2014 to 2018 will deliver up to 5000 bikes to Birmingham and develop and locate 22 cycle centres with support from leisure centres and parks. It will also provide up to 1000 bikes for community groups and individuals to use for free on a long term basis.

One such community group is Birmingham based Social Enterprise, Start Again Project; which since being established in 2009 has worked with nearly 3000 young people from deprived areas across the city, dealing with multiple issues affecting their positive development, such as poor mental health, homelessness, unemployment and domestic abuse. Start Again recently relaunched their Sport & Wellbeing programme commissioned by Birmingham Public Health, which delivers a range of activities such as Football, Netball, Cricket, Walking and now Biking.

On the 9th November 2015, Big Birmingham Bikes, Cycling and Development Officer Ed Wicks presented a few members of the Start Again Project team with the first of 19 bikes donated to the project. When asked about the hopes he has for the scheme he said:

We’d like to make bicycles available to people across Birmingham where the cost of purchasing a bike may be an obstruction to owning or using one. This may be to improve mobility for employment opportunities or just to improve physical or mental health. We’re working with various groups and organisations to do this including Start Again, St Basils, CRI (Reach Out Recovery) and Public Health England as these groups already work with and have identified people that could benefit from cycling in some way or other.”

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(Left to right: Jamie Bunch, Deon Wignall, Ed Wicks)

The Bikes now mean that young people living within Start Again’s accommodation have access to ‘pool transport’ which will enable them to get to and from interviews, appointments easier and generally improve their physical health and wellbeing.

Of the donation, Jamie Bunch, Start Again’s Director of Sport & Physical Wellbeing said:

“We’re really pleased to work with the Bike Scheme to provide our residential young people with bikes. Following the recent boom in cycling we have heard lots about the physical health benefits however we should not underestimate how this supports young people’s emotional well-being through a means of transport to places like college and work. The bikes have proven to be very popular and we look forward to developing more cycling sessions across the city in our outreach programmes which aims to support those young people who would like to access sport or activity to improve their well-being.

For more information on this article, contact Daina Anderson at Social Enterprise Marketing on 0121 448 5570 / 07961759975 or daina@socialenterprisemarketing.org.uk.

A Start Again Project & Birmingham City Council Representative are available for comment on this piece.

For more information on Start Again Project visit www.start-again.co.uk