Bridging Communities

Church cycle club maintenance class
Two cycle clubs were developed at the Macrory and Fortwilliam Presbyterian Church sites in Belfast that bridge the Duncairn interface area.

The clubs were developed at the Macrory and Fortwilliam sites because more and more young people were seen riding bikes in both areas. There was also a well-documented need to address health inequalities, not only to tackle physical inactivity but also the community stress associated with anti-social behaviour and community division.

The first time we had a mixed group at a club - New Lodge and Tigers Bay kids - we had to decide where to do our cycle training. The New Lodge participant was happy to go to Tigers Bay - because the Tigers Bay participant was afraid to go into the New Lodge - but the Tigers Bay participant was also concerned whether the New Lodge participant would be safe or not. But the kids themselves, who never before had met each other, bonded before the training had even started.

Richard Higginson, community worker

The opportunity came about through the Cycling UK cycling officer's work with Belfast City Council organising National Standard Instructor Training, cycle maintenance instruction and access to equipment.

A programme was developed to enable four participants from each side of the Duncairn interface to engage in a six-week course, training them in the National Standards, and encouraging ongoing cycling through a 'Cyclist of the Month' award based on odometer-readings.