The Telford & Wrekin Student Engagement Programme (SEP) caters for young people who, for a variety of reasons, cannot engage in mainstream education.  They may have had problems at home, suffered ill health or bereavement or may just have mental health issues that cause them not to thrive in a large school environment.  Most who come to the service have associated physical health issues too. 

The service managers were aware of low levels of physical activity amongst the young people who they worked with and Energize worked with managers to;

  • Survey young people to identify previous and current activity levels
  • Better understand young people barriers and motivations to physical activity / sport
  • Consider the service locations and environment along with staff interests and competencies
  • Advise on types of activities which might best fit all aspirations

Following this initial work the development of a lunchtime cycling club was identified as it;

  • Would cater for individuals and small groups
  • Would encourage an active lifestyle and mental well-being
  • Would encourage a life skill assisting with work readiness
  • Could include maintenance training encouraging resilience and responsibility
  • Could offer progression from beginner to those who could already ride a bike – potentially offering extension in future too
  • Fitted closely with local authority ambitions to positively encourage active travel through an improving network of cycle routes

Subsequently Energize were contracted by T&W Council to help put a bid together for funding to;

  • Enable the purchase of a set of bikes and associated equipment (waterproof jackets, lights & locks)
  • Purchase and have a professionally erected cycle storage shed
  • Cycle leader training for teachers and volunteers
  • Bikeability training for young people who needed to learn / improve their cycling skills
  • Maintenance training for staff and young people

Impacts / Outcomes

  • Sport England awarded the T&W Student Engagement Programme £7522 to develop their lunchtime cycling club
  • Of the 26 learners who have taken part in the Cycling Club in the first 9 months, 48% would be described as inactive prior to the introduction of the club but are now active at least 30 mins a week
  • Some learners have expressed a sense of achievement at the club when riding a bike for the first time in years (9 students have achieved learn to ride or Bikeability qualifications), several of whom have asked parents to purchase bikes for them for birthdays and Christmas.
  • Using the bikes and scooters during the learning day has helped some learners overcome difficulties in engaging in learning by increasing their oxygen and feel-good hormone intake, providing meaningful and physical breaks from classroom work and providing incentives to remain focussed on academic work before or after physical exercise.
  • 8 members of staff ( a 50% increase on projected number) have undertaken and passed British Cycling cycle leadership training and 15 have undertaken cycle maintenance training encouraging their confidence and commitment to the project
  • The cycling club is now running 5 lunchtimes per week (originally only 4 sessions per week were planned)
  • Scooters have also now been purchased to enable more learners and younger students to access the club – including those with mental health diagnosis which result in higher levels of anxiety
  • Maintaining and supporting the cycling club is now considered important by senior management too who have committed resources to help other young people access the provision and support the health and safety assessments needed

“We were keen to improve the mental wellbeing and resilience of our students through increased physical activity but we had no idea where to start with funding for equipment or training for staff. Energize helped us both make the case and put a small grant funding application together and having been successful they have helped us to put plans into action. A great team of knowledgeable and understanding experts – enabling us to start a new and exciting cycling activity club.”

Louise Bartholomew, Head of Student Engagement Programme

To read more about how Energize can help your organisation get funding click here

Or for more details, please contact Chris Child