Frame on for a city cycle boost

Bike mechanic James Charlton and bike leader Joshua Dunn at Sunderland Young People's Bike Project.
Bike mechanic James Charlton and bike leader Joshua Dunn at Sunderland Young People's Bike Project.
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A PROJECT which helps teenagers get on better with other has won £15,000.

Sunderland Young People’s Bike Project scooped the prize at Santander’s Social Enterprise Development Awards.

Formed in 2009, the organisation provides cycling events, excursions and training to young people across the city.

“Sunderland is one of the least cohesive cities in the UK,” said Steve Rylance, director of the Grangetown-based scheme.

Many of our young people are territorial and competitive which can lead to divisions in our communities.

“Cycling is an inclusive activity and we’ve seen the positive impact we can have on the young people through our mixed schools cycling project.

“It brings together youngsters from different areas of Sunderland to promote physical activity, and encourages them to make new connections and friendships.”  

Working with care providers and schools, Sunderland Young People’s Bike Project delivered health and young development initiatives to more than 1,000 people last year.

Steve said: “With the funding from Santander we will be able to invest in new quality standard Cytech and Bikeability training for our staff, which will help us offer more specialist course across Sunderland.”

It was one of eight social enterprises to win at the awards.

A prize fund of £255,000 was distributed to organisations across the North East, with £2million shared out nationally.

Regional director Craig Iley said: “At Santander we are committed to investing in and supporting communities in the North East, and our Social Enterprise Development Awards were set up to help enterprises looking to expand.

“The cycling industry is enjoying a boom, helped by this year’s Olympics, and demonstrated by the success of this year’s Big Bike Ride.

“Sunderland Young People’s Bike Project is well placed to make the most of this potential, thanks to their diverse business model and focus on high quality training.”

Alongside the prize money, the winning social enterprises receive access to support from Santander including mentoring programmes, funding for internships and university business courses and training.