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News Report Page 12 of 18
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Letter to Editor:- "The Government needs to 'level up' the system for children in care"

"THE care system exists to support children who cannot live with their birth parents or do not have a stable and supportive home life. At its best it can protect children from harm and help them recover from traumatic early experiences. At Barnardo's, we know from our direct experience supporting children in care across the North West that 1 of the greatest challenges they face is still instability. For far too many children, living in care can feel like being 'bounced around' a system, with frequent changes of home leaving them feeling endlessly unsettled.  Through the work of our North West family hubs, we know it is possible to help families to access crucial support before things reach crisis point. The key is early support. We want to see the Government provide more early support for the country's most vulnerable families: so that children can have safer childhoods and more positive futures. The number of children in care now sits at a record high of over 80,000 in England alone, and many of these young people carry burdens that young shoulders shouldn't have to bear. With the recent publication of the Government's review of the children's social care system in England, we now have a unique, once in a generation opportunity to give these children the same opportunities as we expect for our own children. It cannot be right that children who experience the care system are more likely to become homeless or end up in prison. It cannot be right that, during their most unsettled moments, children in care can be passed from pillar to post. And it cannot be right that we, as a society, allow all this and more to happen without demanding change. Correcting this fundamental inequality for children in care is a major undertaking. However, if the Government can get the system of care and support right for these children, then we can truly start to 'level up' opportunities for all, right across the country." Lynn Perry MBE, CEO of Barnardo's.

Cycling UK launches Big Bike Revival in Liverpool to help people get back on their bikes

CYCLING UK has launched its Big Bike Revival in Liverpool, which will fix would be cyclists' bikes, teach them essential skills and lead rides to support more people cycling. The Big Bike Revival will support new and returning cyclists across England through a programme of free events delivered locally by community led groups and not for profit organisations. People can turn up at events with their bikes and receive a basic service, so they are safe to ride, learn essential skills at a maintenance workshop to repair their own bikes, learn how to ride a bike from beginner level or join a led bike ride to increase their cycle confidence. Cycling UK estimates that 1 in 3 people in the UK either own or have access to a bike, and through its Big Bike Revival the charity hopes to get more people cycling more often.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK's chief executive said:- "As the Big Bike Revival kicks off for 2022 after 7 successful years, we are focusing on teaching essential cycle skills and improving people's cycle confidence. Our events this year will deliver fun, social and inclusive activities and services to inspire people new or fairly new to cycling. At Cycling UK, we know that many people all over England want to start cycling more but there is often something stopping them from taking those 1st steps. Our Big Bike Revival experts can help them to get over these perceived barriers and our network of fantastic community cycle clubs can help people make lasting changes to their travel habits."

The project is made possible thanks to a £2 million funding package from the Department for Transport, which recognises the transformational impact the scheme has on people's lives.

Cycling minister Trudy Harrison said:- "The £2 million funding we have provided for this project will give people the skills, confidence and resources to get out there on their bikes and travel in a way that is cheaper, greener and healthier. It comes as part of a transformational £200 million Government package which will give residents more ways to travel and exercise, as well as contributing to cleaner air for communities across the UK."

Cycling UK's Big Bike Revival is now in its eighth year and since its inception has reached over 340,000 people.

1 beneficiary of the Big Bike Revival is Khalda Begum. After only cycling again as an adult in October 2018 with support from the Big Bike Revival at her local community cycling club she is now a ride leader and passionate about encouraging others to give cycling a go.

Khalda said:- "I didn't have the confidence ride with a group until I heard about Cycling UK's Community Cycle Club. I decided to go along and found it incredibly supportive. My confidence in my cycling came on in leaps and bounds, as did my mental and physical health. I've also discovered new places that I didn't know existed just a few miles from home. It even leads to making more short journeys by bike instead of always using the car: for example, I now cycle on my own to the market and the shops because it's much easier than driving plus I also get some exercise."

In 2022, Cycling UK aims to engage with 45% of those defined as non-regular cyclists, with a view to create 50,000 new cycling trips this year. On average the programme could encourage 1,875 new cycling trips per week or 270 new cycling trips every day.

The Big Bike Revival will also offer an essential lifeline to those concerned about the cost of living crisis. In addition to rising energy bills, food costs and national insurance contributions, the cost of travel is also rising. Whether it's the price of fuel at the pumps or the 3.8% rise in rail fares, many people will be looking to cycling for a more affordable and sustainable means of transport.

The project started in May and runs until 31 October 2022, in partnership with a diverse network of community-led groups and not for profit organisations across England.

If you run a community project, not for profit organisation or social enterprise and are interested in delivering Big Bike Revival events, applications for Grant funding and details about eligibility can be found online. If you would like to find the nearest Big Bike Revival delivery partner, visit:-CyclingUK.Org.


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