Scotland’s transport minister has announced the first six pilot projects selected to offer free bicycles for school age children who cannot afford one.
Scottish govt. launches free bike pilot projects for kids in Glasgow
The Scottish Government is launching six pilot projects to provide free bikes for school pupils who can’t afford them, according to an article in The National, published last month. As part of the Scottish Government’s commitments for the first 100 days after the election, new pilot projects will be tested over the next year and evaluated. They will be operated in urban and rural areas, as well as across primary and secondary schools. Ministers hope to include local bike shops in the initiative to support economies, and promote recycled bikes too.
Scottish govt. announces free bike pilot scheme
The Scottish Government has announced the first six pilot projects selected to offer free bicycles for school age children who cannot afford one.
As part of a series of commitments delivered by the Scottish Government within its first 100 days, the new pilots will test their approaches across the next 12 months and will be fully evaluated. They will test delivery models in urban and rural locations, across primary and secondary schools ages and trial various procurement models. The pilots seek to include local bike shops and will explore opportunities to maximise benefits for the local supply chain, including recycling bikes and encouraging a circular economy approach.
The pilots will test a variety of ownership, loan and subscription models and undertake various methods of assessing need to ensure inclusion and accessibility. Pilots are linked to existing community networks across schools, charities, cycling clubs and active travel hubs – all helping to determine what the best models of local delivery could look like.
Further pilots will be announced in the coming months. Transport Scotland continues to explore opportunities for both an islands project and a specific adaptive bikes pilot. This would build on the provision of existing projects which already offer adaptive bikes for disabled children and young people.
Announcing the pilots, Transport Minister Graeme Dey visited St Paul’s Youth Forum in the North East of Glasgow alongside Shanaze Reade, Ambassador for Children and Young People for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.
Working in partnership with the Rosemount Development Trust, the Equality Cycles project will support five schools and up to 300 children aged 8-16 years, to encourage active travel to school through the provision of free bikes, including adaptive bikes. The project in Blackhill intends to unlock skills, build confidence and tackle the climate emergency whilst improving physical and mental health.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey said:
“I’m blown away by how community groups, active travel and cycling partners have responded to our 100 day commitment. With support and funding from the Scottish Government, I’m pleased they will shortly offer free bike pilots to school aged children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.
“We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover when thinking about how best we can assess need, build in accessibility for all and ensure supply and delivery models which are sustainable for urban, rural and island communities across Scotland.
“That said, when we look at pilot projects already mobilised, it’s clear that the strength of ambition on display is immediately apparent. We’ll be looking at the evaluation very closely to see what’s working most effectively and inclusively to support future schemes.
“The benefits of providing greater access to bikes for children are obvious. It ensures equality of opportunity in building life skills, confidence, independence and embeds healthy and sustainable travel habits from a young age. Ensuring that more children can choose active travel including cycling is vital to help meet our world leading net zero targets.
“The Equality Cycles project between St Paul’s Youth Forum and the Rosemount Development Trust is a fantastic example of community collaboration to get more children on bikes using local networks. I look forward to seeing the success of this project and the other pilots, as we refine blueprints for effective local delivery and get more bikes to children who cannot afford them.”
Ben Raw, Project Coordinator at St Paul’s Youth Forum said:
“Through partnerships and innovative approaches like this, we can enable young people to access free and green transportation, helping tackle transport inequality that holds communities back. This allows young people to unlock their potential by accessing a range of services.
The power of cycling for everyday journeys such as to and from school, means that young people, regardless of where they are born, can access transportation that allows them to have good mental and physical health, leading happy and healthy lives.
We know that communities with the least, are feeling the effects of climate change across Scotland and the World. By offering young people access to bikes this project ‘Equality Cycles’ doesn’t just allow young people the opportunity to get around, but offers them a way to re-see and re-imagine their communities. By creating climate resilient neighbourhoods, local people, in one of the most economically deprived areas of the country, can not only to survive, but can thrive and flourish.”
“having access to a bike can open up so many possibilities,” — Shanaze Reade
“For me having access to a bike can open up so many possibilities and I’m delighted to see these pilot projects being rolled out, particularly in hard to reach communities. I have said before as ambassador for the 2023 Cycling Worlds that I want to help find opportunities for all children in Scotland to get access to a bike and this is a great first step.
“Growing up I had to overcome barriers to accessing a bike and I was lucky enough to be given one to race on, allowing me to experience all the benefits and freedom riding a bike can give.”
“The 2023 Cycling Worlds will be a great opportunity to inspire the next generation of world champions, but this will only work if all kids have a bike to ride. By shifting our way of thinking and providing kids with the chance to get on a bike, we can encourage them to take up the cycling as a sport, particularly with the spotlight on BMX after an incredible Tokyo Olympics.”
— Shanaze Reade, Ambassador for Children and Young People for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships
5 reasons why cycling is good for children
Cycling is considered to be one of the best ways to reduce the risk of health issues linked with a sedentary lifestyle. Children do not necessarily have to go every day and do a rigorous ride, a simple ride in a park, a playground or a nearby lane is also enough for starters. Cycling is a low-impact yet a very healthy exercise that can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere. It’s a fun & a cost effective way of staying healthy. Delhi-based AhoyBikes put together 5 good reasons why all kids should get to ride a bike.
It may seem obvious, but cycling regularly has proven health benefits on children.
- The cycling kids tend to be more confident & alert.
- They enjoy a little time & freedom for themselves to get acquainted with the nearby areas
- They are more independent as compared to the kids who don’t cycle
Further, cycling has a positive impact on the overall development of the kids. From increase in stamina to making independent yet small decisions, it has a crucial role in a kid’s life. Cycling facilitates not just physical but enhances mental growth too. Check out these 5 reasons from AhoyBikes in Delhi, India.
1. Cycling is an Excellent Cardiovascular Workout
It’s never too late to get your kid a little extra active & get their heart pumping. Cycling involves the large muscle groups in legs, hence it raises the heart rate and also increases the stamina. It’s a fact that the stamina of a cycling kid is higher than that of stamina of kid involved in other games they usually like to play.
2. Cycling Builds strength and muscle mass
Cycling is not just a workout for legs. Cycling, on the other hand, helps strengthens the whole body. Further, many other sports activities build strength which is excessively intense for young children, whereas cycling builds muscles gradually. It’s a slow yet very effective process so you don’t have to worry about over-stressing your child’s body.
3. Great way to improve parent-child bonding
Rather than spending time on laptops or video games, riding the cycle together with your family is much more fun and exciting. It will not just help keep you fit but also fill the evening with laughs and many happy memories. Cycling is one of the best ways to bond with your kids. Besides, this would also show a positive effect on your child’s mental and emotional health, reducing the stress levels, and keep anxiety and depressions at bay.
4. Cycling Makes the Kids emotionally strong
Children feel more confident when they ride outside on their own. It not only boosts self-confidence but the kids also become more aware of their body. The more they cycle the more they get familiar with the routes and people. Their social skills improve big time.
5. Cycling gives them an option to go out more
Not necessarily every other kid will be available to play outdoor when your kid wants to. At that time, you don’t want your kid to be stuck at home in front of a TV. Give them an option to rather pick up their cycle and go for a short and safe ride in the neighbourhood by themselves. No dependency on others. Vitamin D from the sunlight will help them get a good night sleep. A good sleep is very crucial for a child’s early growing years.
Child poverty in Scotland
In a recent Scottish Government National Statistics publication entitled ‘Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2017-20’, it is estimated that 24% of children (240,000 children each year) were living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2017-20. Before housing costs, it is estimated that 21% of children (210,000 children each year) were in relative poverty.
After a long fall between the late nineties and 2010-13, which slowed briefly just before the recession, child poverty rates have been gradually rising again.
Having paid work is an effective way out of poverty, and those families where all adults are in full-time work have a low poverty risk. But having a job is not always enough, for example when it does not pay well, or when someone is unable to work enough hours.
Two thirds of children in poverty live in working households
While the poverty risk is much lower for children in working households compared to those in non-working households, not all work pays enough to lift the household above the poverty threshold.
It is estimated that in 2017-20, 68% of children in relative poverty after housing costs were living in working households (160,000 children each year).
This data suggests that after a steady and steep increase of in-work poverty since 2007-10, reflecting high employment rates, in-work poverty is now stable at a high level.
The terms ‘working’ and ‘in-work poverty’ here refer to paid employment. They do not include unpaid work such as caring for your children or other family members. In-work poverty refers to the share of children in poverty who live in households where at least one member of the household is in either full or part-time paid work.
THE COURSE ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD BE TEACHING... HAPPINESS LESSONS
When people are asked what they want to be, a lot of people will answer with some sort of profession. But the older people get, the more they answer that they want to be happy. How great would it be if we could teach this to kids at a young age?