Portsmouth City Council wins award for family cycle training scheme

Portsmouth City Council is celebrating the success of its Family Cycle Training scheme after winning an award for the ‘Best Behavioural Change Initiative’ at the national Healthy Street Conference.

Funded by the Department for Transport, the Family Cycle training initiative was created to encourage cycling as a fun family activity. By providing cycle training, parents and children were taught basic cycling and bike maintenance skills to ensure they felt confident on Portsmouth’s roads. To support the initiative, bike grants were awarded to low income families to ensure participation from across the city.

Between November 2016 and January 2017, 30 families took part in the training programme and a total of 80 bike grants were awarded to lower income families. In addition, 14 non-cyclists were taught to cycle and 85 cycle helmets were given out. As a direct result of the training, over half of respondents said they cycled more regularly as a family and over 70 percent felt more confident cycling.

The council submitted its entry in August, and during the recent Healthy Streets Conference the hugely successful scheme took first place in the ‘Best Behaviour Change Initiative’ category.   The judges particularly liked the council’s initiative for its ‘grassroots approach’.

Talking at the awards, jury member Brian Deegan, AltaGO-Europe director, said: “The road to healthy streets is more likely to be paved with thousands of small good deeds rather than a few huge sweeping changes.

“It is in the hands of every man, woman and child on every UK street to bring about this change and the judges want to hold this project up as a shining, achievable example to all.”

The Healthy Streets Awards and Conference recognises those working to make significant improvements in air quality, active travel, health and wellbeing.

Councillor Simon Bosher, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, comments on receiving the award. “Portsmouth is a great city for cycling.  It’s flat, compact and has some lovely scenic rides along the coast – but not everybody feels confident cycling on our roads.  Through the family cycle training, distribution of safety equipment and guided cycle rides we enabled participants to cycle safely and confidently, while working towards our aim to change attitudes towards cycling and improve levels of physical activity. We are delighted with the outcomes of the scheme and pleased to receive national recognition.”