Winner: Outstanding Young Achiever - Blaen Roberts, Liver Pedlaa Pool
Liver Pedlaa Pool was founded by 21-year-old Blaen Roberts to help steer youths from the Liverpool and Greater Merseyside area away from criminal activity, gang culture and knife crime. Instead encouraging them towards cycling activities, bike culture, education and workshops. With up to 200 young people attending weekly rides and over 10,000 followers on Instagram, it's clear to see the group is having a great effect.
Although aimed at young people, all are welcome to join the group's events.
Blaen's vision has broken down barriers between young people from neighbourhoods notorious for anti-social behaviour and knife crime
His hard work and dedication are enabling young people to establish new friendships, help them realise their potential and choose a more positive future. The young riders are now engaging with local police and city council disarm teams (gun and knife crime engagement teams) and use the hashtags #knivesdownbikesup and #nomoreknives to emphasise cycling as a healthier alternative to taking part in crime and anti-social behaviour.
"I set up Liver Pedlaa Pool out of a need to change my own life.
Blaen Roberts, founder of Liver Pedlaa Pool
Despite his young age, Blaen has become a pillar of his community and is running one of the most well-attended cycling activities in Liverpool City Region. He says: "I set up Liver Pedlaa Pool out of a need to change my own life. I have given that opportunity to so many people in Liverpool and am steering the youth away from gang culture and knife crime through regular cycling activities."
Ross Adams, Cycling UK Cycling Development Manager, said: “The Community Cycling Club works with hundreds of young people across Merseyside to provide cycling as a diversionary activity, particularly focusing on education around knife crime, their Knives Down Bikes Up and No More Knives initiatives are having really outstanding positive effects on the young people they are working with”.
Not only this, he also delivers regular MTB sessions at local trail centres and has created a sponsored MTB race team to give young participants something to aspire to. The team has plans to compete in events across the UK. Blaen has also appeared on radio and TV to talk about his work and his passion for turning young people's lives around.
Blaen thoroughly deserves recognition for his efforts and we're delighted to announce he is the winner of the 2019 Outstanding Young Achiever award.