Next steps for Bikes in Schools
Council and programme leaders are positive about the benefits the Bikes in Schools initiative will deliver to students in Gisborne primary and intermediate schools.
The first Bikes in Schools pilot programme was opened at Kaiti School on 19 February.
The school received 50 bikes and helmets, as well as tracks built by Fulton Hogan on the school grounds that include a 480-metre riding track, a pump track and a skills track.
"The cost to completely set up a school with bikes, tracks and helmets is around $60,000," says Chairperson Prue Younger, of CONNEXT Trust.
"We're really positive about the benefits the programme promises to deliver to students and the wider community."
In just 3 weeks of implementation the students who could ride went from 70% up to 92% with some students never having been on a bike at all.
The CONNEXT Trust is made up of local leaders representing the council, iwi, health, sport, schools and businesses. It aims to support projects that improve the health and well-being of young people.
Bikes in Schools is a national initiative by Bike On New Zealand Charitable Trust for every child to receive the positive outcomes of riding a bike.
Over the next 10 years, Council will fund $50,000 a year towards the programme which is administered through the CONNEXT Trust.
Now that the pilot site is complete, CONNEXT Trust plans to review the programme's delivery to look at how to improve for the next sites.
Council's contribution helped deliver infrastructure at the pilot site and by 30 June CONNEXT Trust plan to have secured additional funding to provide bikes and tracks for up to 2 more schools.
"We hope the success of the pilot site will translate into further funding opportunities for the next few schools," says chairperson Ms Younger.
The Bikes in Schools concept was introduced by Katrina Duncan and Anelia Evans of Gisborne Cycles, who are also working to train cycle skills coordinators for the project.
In December 2014 Council agreed to allocate the project $50k per year for the full term of the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan as part of Council's Active Transport Priorities for the cycle and walkways programme.