Thousands more children will learn how to cycle during the summer holidays thanks to a £500,000 funding boost from the Bikeability Trust.
The additional funding will help Bikeability providers deliver cycle training to children who receive free school meals as part of the government’s holiday activities and food programme (HAF). The programme began in 2018 and helps ensure children are fed and take part in enrichment activities during the school holidays.
Almost half of parents with children on free school meals are worried about feeding their children this summer and 85% of parents of school-aged children think that the government should provide holiday clubs.*
Bikeability is providing additional funding to its providers to help deliver courses that teach children how to cycle for the very first time, help them gain the confidence and skills needed to ride on our modern roads, and how to maintain and fix their cycles.
Bikeability training providers will also be able to use the money to loan or buy fleet bikes to ensure that all children have a cycle to learn to ride on, as many families cannot afford bikes of their own. Bikeability partner Frog Bikes is giving an increased discount to Bikeability training providers delivering under the HAF programme, to help them purchase fleet bikes.
The government is investing £200 million per year into the HAF programme for the next three years. The programme aims to address the ‘school holiday experience gap’ and give children from low income households a place to learn, be active, eat well and thrive when they are not in school.
Minister for Children and Families Brendan Clarke-Smith said: “Our Holiday Activities and Food programme provides valuable support for children and families over the school holidays. We are investing over £200 million a year in clubs across the country to ensure that more children are able to enjoy the holidays, and it’s great to see some of this investment being used to ensure more children can learn to cycle safely and confidently through Bikeability. Programmes like this are a great way for children to get active and pick up a new skill over the holidays.”
“The ability to ride a bike is a ticket to freedom; it’s a skill we believe all children should have. Cycling to the local park with friends is what the summer holidays should be all about, the kind of healthy cheap transport and independence that we want for everyone, but especially kids. That bikes can also be loaned to families who can’t afford them is wonderful. Well done to the Bikeability Trust for making it possible.” Chris Boardman, National Active Travel Commissioner at Active Travel England
The additional funding from the Bikeability Trust will support Bikeability projects in the holidays throughout the academic year. Bikeability providers will be able to use the money to run cycle training in the summer holidays, Christmas holidays and the autumn and spring half-terms.
Emily Cherry, CEO at the Bikeability Trust, said: “I am proud that Bikeability is part of the government’s holiday and activities food programme.
“By providing this additional funding to our providers, we’re helping to remove the barriers to Bikeability for thousands of children in England. Learning to cycle is an essential life skill and no child should miss out because of tight family budgets.
“It is our ambition to offer every child cycle training by 2025, to help reach the government’s aims set out in Gear Change. Programmes like HAF are crucial in helping us reach every child and giving them the opportunity to discover the joys of cycling.”
If your child receives benefits related free school meals, they can take part in HAF activities for free, contact your local council to find out more. Click here to find out the name of your local council.
Find a Bikeability course near you by using the Find a Course tool on the Bikeability website. Bikeability providers who want to find out more about the additional HAF funding please email firstname.lastname@example.org
*Food Foundation Survey, June 2021