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Community group putting smiles back on faces using two wheels

todayFebruary 24, 2021 10

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A Wolverhampton community group is helping local people discover the fun of cycling after setting up its cycling hub using a Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) funding grant.

In Low Hill, the Park Village Education Centre used its Better Streets Community Fund grant to create a secure cycle storage and workshop facility, cycle parking, and a safe training area. It is also working alongside Wolves Whirling Wheels Cycle Training to offer lessons and bike maintenance services to help local people get out and about on two wheels.

The hub, which covers an area with a rich and diverse community and high social deprivation levels, has promoted healthy activity and provided emotional and social support during lockdown.

Park Village Education Centres’ Dr Yusuf Shafi said: “In partnership with Whirling Wheels, we were able to engage 86 young people and 37 adults in a variety of cycling training, cycle repair and safety training sessions. It has been an absolute pleasure and delight to see so many people getting on their bikes and realising the fun of cycling.”

The £2 million Better Streets Community Fund was set up for groups and organisations to apply for funding for small scale active travel infrastructures such as bike racks, cycle clubs or safe road crossings.

The group was among 34 projects throughout the region to benefit from grants of between £10,000 and £250,000 for projects to improve cycling and walking in their areas. These include:

  • An inclusive cycling project run by Midland Mencap at Woodgate Valley Country Park in Birmingham to provide adapted bike and wider cycle paths for their use
  • New toucan crossings at Stevens Park in Dudley to allow children from Old Park School and Thorns Primary School to safely cross the Thorns Road and better enjoy the park
  • Secure cycle parking facility at the YMCA in West Bromwich town centre
  • A Wheels for All inclusive cycling centre, including adapted bicycles, at Aldersley Stadium in Wolverhampton
  • Creation of a community cycle hub at Walsall Rugby Club, which included balance bikes for young children

Cllr Ian Ward, the WMCA portfolio holder for transport and leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “These community-led projects, such as pedestrian crossings, better cycle paths and bike training can make a real difference to a neighbourhood by giving people the confidence to walk and cycle and make streets safer for children.”

TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), is currently investing £40 million, including £23 million from the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund and £14 million from the Active Travel Fund, into cycling and walking infrastructure.

Encouraging more people to cycle and walk for shorter journeys can help achieve the #WM2041 target of becoming a net-zero carbon region over the next 20 years.

 

Written by: David Watkins

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