Pedal power boosts confidence and self-esteem in Westminster young people


A youth bike maintenance scheme in Westminster has proved successful in helping young people learn new skills and make new friendships.

The five-week programme, organised by Westminster City Council in partnership with Everyone Active and the Metropolitan Police Service, ran each Thursday during August. The young people learnt essential bike maintenance including how to fix brakes, mend a puncture and oil and replace the chain.

A total of 17 young people aged nine to 19 attended and each received a free bike repair kit. Eight who attended all the sessions were rewarded by being given the bike they were working on. These were presented at a celebratory barbecue at Amberley Youth Centre.

The Summer Bike Maintenance Scheme took place on the Amberley Estate with each session including a demonstration of each skill followed by hands-on support.

Cllr Iain Bott, Cabinet Member for Sports, Culture and Community at Westminster City Council said:

“This was a great project aimed at bringing young people together to learn new skills, as well as encouraging them to take up cycling and get more active. Giving out bikes at the end was a fantastic gesture from the Met Police and I’m sure they were well received by the young people involved.”

Andy Davison, Everyone Active at Contract Manager, said:

“The overall aim of the programme was to bring youngsters together during the school holidays, teach them new skills, encourage them to cycle more, boost their self-esteem and give them greater confidence.

“We were only to pleased to go out into the community to connect with youngsters near their homes. Even better, several have signed up to a cycle road safety course in October half term which is really encouraging.”

This cross-community project saw Westminster City Council work in partnership with Everyone Active and the Metropolitan Police Service alongside local representatives from Dr Bike and Cycle Confidence. Together they encouraged the youngsters to attend, delivered the training and helped build rapport among the group.

Giving new skills to young people is a key part of the Council’s plan to help them make better lifestyle choices. The Metropolitan Police Service donated the bicycles for the scheme which would otherwise have gone to public auction. Fully supporting the aims of the programme, the local Westminster Police youth engagement team attended each week and helped by working with the young people who participated.