Exciting new MTB Bike Club launched in Brighton

Exciting new MTB Bike Club launched in Brighton

An exciting new project aimed at getting young people from Brighton & Hove on their bikes was launched last Wednesday...

With support from Bike Club seven local organisations have come together to buy a fleet of mountain bikes. Each organisation has had staff trained in mountain bike leadership, which means they can run their own bike rides with young people for years to come.

The first rides took place over the summer and were a great success.The fantastic thing about this project is that it's really sustainable because the organisations involved are running things themselves, and it's very flexible and adaptable, with each organisation running different types of rides and activities to suit the particular needs and interests of the young people they're working with.

It's also exciting because it's brought together the University of Sussex and it's Students' Union to work in partnership with organisations supporting disadvantaged young people in Brighton & Hove. This means that the young people are getting regular exposure and access to a higher education institution and meeting students, and is also creating an exciting volunteering opportunity for students.

The partnership MTB Bike Club was officially launched at an event on Wednesday 12th October, at which Dr Michael Farthing, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sussex, joined a young person in cutting a ribbon to open cycling activities, and participants were presented with certificates by Councillor Sue Shanks, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, and Councilor Geoffery Bowden, Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism.

The partnership MTB Bike Club aims to give young people new opportunities to access the countryside, engage in a higher education institution and of course have fun with friends, whilst encouraging them to cycle in their every day lives. As well as offering mountain biking, several of the organisations involved are running bike maintenance sessions and Bikeability cycle training, giving young people the skills and confidence to cycle on the road. Young people have also developed a wider range of skills by getting involved in fundraising and evaluation. Young people from Tarnerland Children and Yong People’s project raised £1,500 by submitting a Youth Capital Funding bid, and young people from the 67 Centre interviewed their peers about their experiences in Bike Club and turned their findings into a fantastic banner.

After a long run up of all seven organisations working hard to get going, it's fantastic to see the project getting off the ground andyoung people enjoying getting riding. Bike Club projects such as this widen young people's horizons by developing new skills, encouraging young people to take leadership roles and, of course, engaging young people in a mode of transport which directly gives them independence and freedom. This project is a great example of how many benefits cycling can have. By encouraging cycling as a means of sustainable transport, organisations are engaging young people in physical activity, providing exciting adventures and building skills and confidence. It really goes to show how much cycling has to offer to young people and their communities.

The organisations involved in running the project are Tarnerland Children and Young People’s Project, 67 Centre, Deans Youth Project, Brighton & Hove Fostering Service / Intensive Placement Team, Active for Life, the University of Sussex and the University of Sussex Students’ Union. Each organisation works with different young people, many of whom are disadvantaged, living in deprived areas or are looked after children.

As well as receiving over £15,000 in total from Bike Club, the seven organisations have received support from Brighton & Hove's Transport Planning team, Tarner and Easter Road Health Action Group and Youth Capital Fund.

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