Community cycling initiative expands, providing free bikes for eligible children.
Active Essex is delighted to announce that Essex Pedal Power, the community cycling initiative, has launched on Canvey Island. The expansion of the programme will allow 200 new bikes to be given exclusively to eligible school children in years 6 and 7, to enable them to travel actively through their transition from Primary school to Secondary school. The £150,000 funding for this programme comes from a partnership with the London Marathon Foundation, following Ford RideLondon-Essex coming to the county for a second time last year.
Children who receive a bike, will be selected from eight primary schools and two secondary schools on Canvey Island, and as part of the offer, will also receive a helmet, bike lock, lights, bike pump, hi-vis jacket and a cyclometer, to help track the distance travelled on their bikes. As part of the scheme, children who receive a bike must have completed Bikeability training to the required level. To ensure bikes stay well-kept and safe, the offer led by the Castle Point and Rochford School Sports Partnership (CPRSSP) and The Deanes School, will also include free bike maintenance and free bike services if needed.
All 200 children’s bikes will be allocated by April 2024, with the hope of expanding in future years. The expansion of Essex Pedal Power supports the London Marathon Foundation’s vision of inspiring activity, by helping more residents across the county to lead active and healthy lives through cycling and other forms of physical activity.
Essex Pedal Power has already proved to be a great success in the county, being a flagship programme of the Sport England Essex Local Delivery Pilot (ELDP) and in partnership with Essex County Council, The Active Wellbeing Society and other local partners. Essex Pedal Power will provide over 4,000 new bikes in the disadvantaged communities of Basildon, Clacton & Jaywick, Colchester, Harwich & Dovercourt, and now Canvey Island. Essex Pedal Power has used an Asset Based Community Development approach through the creation of community groups and the rise in numbers of those volunteering. With the programme now venturing out of the three ELDP pilot areas of Basildon, Colchester and Tendring into the south of the county, it demonstrates the commitment to the expansion of the scheme, helping to benefit more people through the power of cycling.
Catherine Anderson, Executive Director at the London Marathon Foundation said: “One of our key priorities at the London Marathon Foundation is to inspire activity for children and young people, to help them develop active and healthy habits for life.
Essex Pedal Power is a transformational initiative, that’s already helping adults most in need to get active through cycling, as well as supporting their mental health, sense of connection to their community and employment prospects. Thanks to Ford RideLondon-Essex, our funding will expand the Essex Pedal Power initiative to children in Canvey Island – giving bikes to children who otherwise may not have access to one, so they can experience the physical, mental and social benefits of cycling from a young age.”
Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Planning a Growing Economy said; “Following the success of four Essex Pedal Power programmes across the county, it’s fantastic to see the community cycling initiative expand into Castle Point, providing free bikes to children to increase activity levels. As a result of Ford RideLondon-Essex 2023, funding from the London Marathon Foundation, has helped catapult Essex Pedal Power and it’s great to be able to help children on Canvey Island to lead active and healthy lives through cycling.”
Steve Bish, Essex Pedal Power Canvey Island Project Lead, CPRSSP commented; “The Castle Point and Rochford School Sport Partnership is delighted to be working with Essex Pedal Power and Active Essex to provide 200 children living and going to school on Canvey Island with a brand-new bike. This project will support children and families who are not necessarily able to purchase a safe and appropriate bike and allow for access to cycling, regular daily exercise and the social benefits of being able to ride a bike. This will have an enormous impact on the physical and mental wellbeing of these young people, and we look forward to supporting them to achieve their Bikeability Level 2 awards so they can maximise the benefits of having a bike.”
Emma Lane, Executive Headteacher of Northwick Park Primary, William Read Primary and Leigh Beck Infant School on Canvey Island said; “We are delighted that Essex Pedal Power and the local School Sport Partnership are providing this opportunity for children on Canvey. Projects like this, really help to increase active travel and physical activity levels, all contributing to healthier and happier young people, and will support families to enable more children to cycle to school, as well as for fun.”
For more information about Essex Pedal Power, click here