Blackpool Boathouse Youth
Blackpool Boathouse Youth is going from strength to strength

Boathouse Youth Blackpool

Back in 2009, the Cycling UK community cycling offering was in its infancy and Boathouse Youth (BHY) was just beginning its work in the deprived community of South Shore, Blackpool, an area which is in the worst 1% of most deprived wards in the country.

Our Cycling Development Officer,  funded by the Department for Transport, was able to work with the staff at BHY to devise a programme of activities that would capture the interest of the young people and provide them with a fun and healthy activity which they could engage in straight from the youth centre door.  The programme was delivered in conjunction with local partners including British Cycling and the local council's Cycle Blackpool programme.

The initial project involved Bikeability training, maintenance sessions, mountain biking at a local trail centre and visits to the local BMX track. We were keen to make the programme sustainable and trained up as many staff and volunteers as possible to manage and deliver the activities.

Cycling continued to go from strength to strength and in 2010 we submitted a successful bid to Sport England.  This enabled us to purchase a fleet of bikes and associated equipment.  Weekly rides were then offered as part of the youth club activity and the young people were able to take part in a number of camping expeditions by bike.  In the same year, BHY were awarded the title of Cycling UK Young People's Group of the Year and were runners-up in the Young Volunteer of the Year category.

Cycling UK has continued to provide advice, assistance and training to BHY, who have now made the cycling activities mainstream by establishing a dedicated cycling centre in Blackpool, where bikes are stored, maintained and from where weekly cycling activities take place.

The success of this programme has been both the breadth of the local offer and sustainability being addressed at the start of the project.  The manager at BHY was able to see how cycling could meet many of his organisation's objectives and Cycling UK was on hand to make it happen through our model for community engagement.