Boathouse Youth - Blackpool's cycling youth centre

Blackpool Boathouse Youth is going from strength to strength

Boathouse Youth - Blackpool's cycling youth centre

Back in 2009, the Cycling UK community cycling offering was in its infancy and Boathouse Youth (BHY) was just beginning its work in the deprived community of South Shore, Blackpool - an area that is in the bottom 1% of most deprived wards in the country.

Cycle UK's Cycling Development Officer, funded by the Department for Transport, was able to work with the staff at BHY to devise a programme of activities that would capture the interest of the young people and provide them with a fun and healthy activity. The programme was delivered in conjunction with local partners including British Cycling and the local council's Cycle Blackpool programme.

The initial project involved Bikeability training, maintenance sessions, mountain biking at a local trail centre and visits to the local BMX track. The aim was to make the programme sustainable and train up as many staff and volunteers as possible to manage and deliver the activities.

BHY was awarded the title of Cycling UK Young People's Group of the Year and had runners-up in the Young Volunteer of the Year category

Cycling continued to go from strength to strength and in 2010 a successful bid was submitted to Sport England. This enabled the purchase of a fleet of bikes and associated equipment. Weekly rides were then offered as part of the youth club activity and the young people were able to take part in a number of camping expeditions by bike. In the same year, BHY was awarded the title of Cycling UK Young People's Group of the Year and had runners-up in the Young Volunteer of the Year category.

Cycling UK has continued to provide advice, assistance and training to BHY, who have now made the cycling activities mainstream by establishing a dedicated cycling centre in Blackpool, where bikes are stored, maintained and from where weekly cycling activities take place.

The success of this programme has been due to the local enthusiasm and the fact that sustainability was addressed at the very start of the project. The manager at BHY was able to see how cycling could meet many of his organisation's objectives and Cycling UK was on hand to make it happen through its model for community engagement.  

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