Cycling initiative gets off to a ‘wheelie’ good start

Pupils at a Morpeth school are now benefiting from an innovative scheme developed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to help more staff to cycle.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 7:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 7:21 pm
Adults pictured, from left, Susan Major, deputy headteacher,  PE teacher Mrs Davidson, David Buchan, Bike4Health, Jill Harland, consultant in public health, Gillian Linkleter, headteacher, and Coun Guy Renner-Thompson. Also pictured are three Collingwood School and Media Arts College pupils.

The ‘Recycle your cycle’ initiative takes pre-loved bikes, donated by staff and serviced by the Bike4Health Community Interest Company, and makes them affordable and accessible for colleagues and their families with its ‘pay as you feel’ pricing model.

It is now being piloted at Collingwood School and Media Arts College, which is designated to meet the needs of students with special educational needs and disabilities,

Through its existing relationship with Bike4Health, the school in the Stobhill area purchased 10 of the bikes in a range of sizes for its primary-aged students.

Headteacher Gillian Linkleter said: “We jumped at the chance to purchase the bikes to be used in PE lessons, cycleability training, treat activities and interventions.

“They will benefit pupils throughout the whole school and help us to achieve our aim of encouraging children to cycle for life and be confident in travelling independently.

“We’d like to thank Northumbria Healthcare and Bike4Health as without the scheme we would not have been able to purchase as many bikes as we have in such a short space of time.

“As well as helping our children to improve their cycling skills, the bikes will also help with our plans to start our very own cycle workshop to maintain the upkeep of our own bikes and those of the local community.

“This will give our pupils vital experience in bike mechanics, business, employability and social skills.”

The initiative is aligned with the trust’s community promise to improve staff and community health and well-being, encourage more sustainable travel, support local businesses and reduce health inequalities.

Jill Harland, consultant in public health at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “It’s brilliant to see that the bikes are already making a difference at Collingwood School on a day-to-day basis, but the fact that they are also helping the pupils to develop life skills that will help them in the future is really encouraging.”

The scheme has been welcomed by Coun Guy Renner-Thompson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet me-mber for children’s services.