Playground Cycle Skills for School Children, Somers Town

Project Category: Public Sector organisation

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  • Our Story

    The Challenge: I work with schools in Camden, getting children cycling by changing streets, running events and organising cycle training sessions of various types. My project area at the minute is the Somers Town area – in between St Pancras and Euston Stations. One of my commitments is that I’d like to be able to offer every single child in all the schools I work with to have some sort of playground cycle skills training – I am buying a fleet of bikes to enable all children to take part, as quite a few don’t have bikes, given the nature of the area.

    I currently work with 2,500 children, but this number is expected to double shortly as I move in to work with two project areas – at 10 children per skills session, that’s 250 cycle skills sessions for just those kids I’m working with now! I therefore need volunteers to help me boost capacity.

    The Opportunity:
    I’m looking for some volunteers to come in and help me run these sessions during the school day. Pretty much any time commitment would be useful, from a single school day upwards. Basically I go into schools on these training days and run back-to-back skills sessions throughout the day. Training will be delivered on-the-job during the morning, and then in the afternoon you should be able to deliver cycle skills sessions yourself (I’ll still be in the playground, running a parallel session – and if you don’t get there in one day, that’s fine). You’ll be covered by Camden’s 3rd party insurance.

    These sessions are really fun, both for the kids, and for the adults running them – basically I have a toolkit of skills challenges that help improve the basic skills needed for controlling a bike well – gradually getting harder. Depending on the group, it can be pretty basic – waving at you as they go past to teach them how to ride one handed; stopping on a cone etc; but you quite often get to teach kids how to bunny-hop, pick up a bottle from the ground, or ride elbow-to-elbow as part of a group. I always finish with some whacky races, of course!

    If you were able to commit to a longer period of time, then I can arrange funding for further training; coaching qualifications from British Cycling to enable you to help run an after-school club; ride leader training to allow you to help run local school trips by bike; or we can fund a two-day mechanics course so that you can carry out basic repairs on bikes.

    Skills needed:
    No prior training is needed, just enthusiasm for riding bikes in any form, and enthusiasm for working with young people. Reliability also a must (so please tell me if you’re not going to be able to make it!)

    Admin: In terms of admin, there’s an online form to fill in beforehand (5 mins tops), there’s a fairly straightforward risk assessment to read before coming in (5 mins if you’re a really slow reader!), and I will ask you to bring ID etc with you on your first day of volunteering so that we can take care of DBS checks for future sessions (there is no charge for this). Times being what they are, those who we don’t have a completed DBS check for need to be under my direct supervision at all times while working with kids.

    How to get involved: If you’re interested in taking part, send me an e-mail at my work address: ben.knowles@camden.gov.uk

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