A story by Fabb Scotland
We set up two local cycling hubs in each of the geographic areas at the venues identified following consultation with parents/carers,providers and young people, the third is progressing as planned.
We arranged school visits linking into the local cycling hub, targeting specific schools. We organised weekly after school cycling sessions, for example 24 weekly sessions have been organised as Open bike nights at the Fife hub and a 16 weekly programme at the Edinburgh hub. Organised 10 cycle out days and events engaging 260 young people.
Trained one Blazing Saddles’ volunteer as a professional Bike Mechanic (Velotech Gold Award) thus providing a full service and repair check of the bikes. Provided recognised Cycling Scotland Bike Leader Training but adapted the course to focus on leading disabled children on adapted bikes.
We worked with Scottish Disability Sport, Scottish Cycling and Cycling Scotland to identify and map mainstream cycling clubs who support cycling for disabled people.
Blazing Saddles is one of our projects that aims to use “bikes to break barriers”. Cycling is an activity that caters for all with adapted resources, training and enthusiastic people.
A successful bid to YoungStart gave us a mobile cycling unit which we can use to create short break opportunities for children who have a range of complex needs.
Tip 1:Plan -Do- Review
Tip 2:Involve young people, families and carers in decision making
Tip 3:Do your homework. Don't reinvent the wheel , check who is doing what and conduct research or mapping where necessary. Bring all the organisations and individuals together , share knowledge and expertise and pool resources to ensure sustainable services.
This story is short and inspirational! Blazing Saddles is an All Ability Mobile Cycling Project administered by FABB Scotland. It provides regular bike sessions for children and young people in the pilot areas of Edinburgh, Fife and Dundee.
Case Study 1, Over a six week period we have seen children and young people become more confident; learning how to ride an adaptive bike and progress from cycling with a volunteer to cycling on their own; from being persuaded to “have a go” on a bike to asking to ride our range of progressive bikes independently and “just for fun”!
Case Study 2 One autistic 15 year old thought it was great fun to ram the bike into the wall, this stopped by introducing stimulating on bike games and now when staff and volunteers go over to check that he’s okay instead of a short abrupt response to leave him alone, we now get a “yes, thank you” before he speeds off to complete another lap.
Case study 3 -This story is about a child with a complex learning disability who joined Blazing Saddles’ Mobile All Ability Cycling Project at Meadowbank Sports Centre not wanting to pedal! On the first night wanting to watch was the name of the game. Then on the fourth week our volunteers suggested sitting on one of the bikes just for fun. Since then this little boy attends regularly on a Monday night asking one of our volunteers to cycle on the tandem trike improving pedalling and confidence all in one go!
Case Study 4, Another young boy who has multiple support needs is having difficulty at school and home, going through a period of severe self harming. He is frustrated spending too much time in his wheelchair, gaining weight and struggling to use his walker as a result. He cannot bear his weight on his legs but because he can place one foot in front of the other he is able to use the running bike. At the first session he struggled to use the twister, which is a side by side bike, however after a few weeks he has learned not only how to pedal but to get power into his pedaling!. He has progressed considerably and is now able to use the hand crank and running bike independently.
Case Study 5 Sustrans Scotland have included a volunteer role for Blazing Saddles’ cycling hubs on their website resulting in increased numbers assisting at our hubs; Sustrans Scotland are assisting with a forthcoming ASN School Cycle Challenge in June 2014; Sustrans Dundee are looking at potential sensory cycle trails to assist the Dundee cycling hub participate in their local cycling programmes; Sustrans Fife have arranged to work with Roslyn SEN Cluster School to develop cycling for ASN Schools throughout Fife
1.Expand the opportunities for disabled children who have complex needs to learn new skills and participate in physical activity.
2.Improve physical health and wellbeing.
3.Increase opportunities for respite for parents and carers.
We know we have achieved these outcomes, having researched extensively existing provision across Scotland and continuing this mapping exercise in partnership with Scottish Disability Sport and Scottish Cycling we have expanded opportunities for disabled children and young people to participate in cycling. Testimony from parents, teachers, physiotherapists and young people themselves supports improved physical health and well being. Respite hours demonstrate increased opportunity, feedback from carers indicates the quality of respite provided.
We actively support the personalisation agenda and encourage parents/carers to direct their own respite and young people to plan their own projects. Individual support plans allow young people to identify their own goals, for some it may be to learn to cycle, make new friends or to participate in an event.
The costs of specialist bikes are prohibitive to the majority of children and families, the mobile cycling unit and development of hubs or centers where bikes can be used on a daily/weekly basis would extend opportunities and enhance child development.
The enthusiasm of providers across sectors for the project was unexpected. The Project Coordinator has been instrumental in bringing key people together in targeted areas to raise awareness and coordinate provision.
This project, although aimed at disabled children will impact on mainstream cycling as governing bodies of cycling and disability organisations now have inclusive cycling on their agenda. The demand and interest from disabled young people across Scotland has been far greater than anticipated.
We used the many networks we have created to promote the project and reach families not known to us. The events, fun days and festivals not only provided opportunities for disabled children and young people to participate but assisted us in targeting parents in most need of a break. Most of the referrals we receive from Health and Social Care professionals are families in most need of a break.
Disability is exacerbated for many families, by poverty and lack of opportunity. We support children who are looked after and in supported accommodation.
Our Project Coordinator has a sensory impairment and staff have given extra time to assist which we appreciate greatly.