Monday, 05 July, 2021
Article by Laura Keen | Communications and Marketing Officer |
Originally posted at:

Schoolchildren are now benefitting from an innovative scheme developed by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to help more staff to cycle.

The ‘Recycle your cycle’ scheme which takes pre-loved bikes, donated by staff and serviced by Bike4Health, and makes them affordable and accessible for colleagues and their families with its ‘pay as you feel’ pricing model, is now being piloted in a Northumberland school.

Through its existing relationship with Bike4Health, Collingwood School and Media Arts College, in Morpeth, purchased 10 of the bikes in a range of sizes for its primary-aged students.

Gillian Linkleter, headteacher at the school, which is designated to meet the needs of students with special educational needs and disabilities, said: “We jumped at the chance to purchase the bikes to be used in PE lessons, cycle ability training, treat activities and interventions. We also plan to start using them as part of educational visits and residentials from next year.

“The bikes will benefit pupils throughout the whole school and help us to achieve our aim of encouraging children to cycle for life and be confident in travelling independently.

“We’d like to thank Northumbria Healthcare and Bike4Health as without the scheme we would not have been able to purchase as many bikes as we have in such a short space of time. As well as helping our children to improve their cycling skills, the bikes will also help with our plans to start our very own cycle workshop to maintain the upkeep of our own bikes and those of the local community. This will give our pupils vital experience in bike mechanics, business, employability and social skills.”

The scheme is aligned with the Trust’s community promise to improve staff and community health and wellbeing, encourage more sustainable travel, support local businesses and reduce health inequalities. It also supports the promotion of being more active which is a key component of Northumbria being named as one of only four Active Hospitals in the country.

Jill Harland, consultant in public health at Northumbria Healthcare, added:

“We know that the earlier we introduce activity into children’s lives the more likely they are to continue this into adulthood, helping them to live a healthier life and avoid preventable ill health, so piloting the scheme in schools felt like the right next step for us.

“It’s brilliant to see that the bikes are already making a difference at Collingwood School on a day-to-day basis, but the fact that they are also helping the pupils to develop life skills that will help them in the future is really encouraging.

“We’d like to thank all of our staff and families for their kind donations of bikes and we hope the scheme continues to benefit our colleagues and the wider community for a long time to come.”

As part of being an Active Hospital, conversations about moving more will take place as part of the everyday interactions staff have with patients and the Trust will use the opportunity to support its staff and the local community to move more.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Helping our children and young people to keep healthy is extremely important both for their physical and mental health.

“This initiative, paired with the commitment from the school is a great way of introducing children and young people to cycling, an exercise that they can continue to use throughout their lives.”