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Bikeability success results in demand for training exceeding funding

The popularity of Bikeability cycle training is growing in Cambridgeshire. In 2012 just over 1,000 pupils received training. This number has increased significantly over the years and in 2016, Outspoken Training, on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council, delivered training to over 8,000 pupils across 218 schools throughout the county.

Bikeability is a government approved cycle training programme aimed at enthusing more people to cycle, more often, with less risk. Trainees gain practical skills with a realistic understanding of how to cycle on today’s roads and infrastructure. There are three Bikeability levels taking trainees from the basics of balance and control off-road, all the way to planning and making an independent journey on busier roads.

“I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you for the Bikeability training. Nancy and Steve were an absolute asset to your company and made the whole experience hugely enjoyable for both staff and pupils alike. Their patience, understanding and communication with our children was exceptional. They truly were a pleasure to work with.”

Ryan Thomas, Gretton School

Last year, the Department for Transport announced that Bikeability would be centrally funded at broadly the same level for the next 4 financial years, safeguarding Bikeability until 2020. However recently it has become apparent that due to the success of Bikeability, the industry has reached a point where national demand for training now outstrips the level of funding from central government.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said:

“Cambridgeshire County Council sees Bikeability as a fundamental part of helping encourage more people on their bikes and especially getting children riding at a young age. We have no plans to stop this and welcome the Government’s reaffirmation of the £630,000 funding for the scheme over three years. However it costs around £270,000 a year to run Bikeability in Cambridgeshire, therefore the Council is exploring ways of meeting that funding gap.”

The shortfall could either be made up through sponsorship of cycle training in the area or alternatively by asking schools to make a small contribution (not the full amount) from their Sports Premium budget. This has been successfully done in other counties throughout the country.

“For an instructor who had less than a week with a nine-year-old child to be able to earn that level of trust from him and to coach him through a couple of early setbacks so that he could then successfully perform the various procedures with safety, control, confidence and pride, really is amazing.”

Mrs Wall, Parent, Great and Little Shelford Primary

If you are interested in finding out more about Bikeability or sponsoring cycle training in Cambridgeshire, please get in touch with Outspoken Training via team@outspokentraining.co.uk or 01223 473820. 

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