Children get on their bikes for fitness programme

Coun Moira Smithwith cycle instructor Lee Woolston andMegan Thomas (front) looked on by pupils from Jarrow Post 11 Autism Unit and road safety officer Kim Questlaw.

Coun Moira Smithwith cycle instructor Lee Woolston andMegan Thomas (front) looked on by pupils from Jarrow Post 11 Autism Unit and road safety officer Kim Questlaw.

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South Tyneside schoolchildren have been enjoying a cycling programme aimed at building confidence.

The group of Year 7 to Year 11 pupils from Jarrow Post 11 Autism Unit in Field Terrace, along with Learning Support Assistants, Elaine Boyer and George Smith, are taking part in a series of sessions at The Bike Park, Temple Park.

Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Public Health at South Tyneside Council, said: “It’s very encouraging to see the pupils really growing in confidence. The sense of achievement they get from being able to ride their bikes is amazing.

“At the start of the session some of the pupils couldn’t ride at all whereas now, three sessions later, they’re able to ride the bikes themselves.”

The Bike Park is one of five Go Smarter Centres in the North East, run by Sustrans, which encourage people to walk and cycle more by offering a wide range of community activities.

The Council’s road safety team is working with Sustrans at the centre, which provides the bikes and helmets for free, as well as Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools throughout the Borough.

The initiative is just one example of a range of activities taking place this month for all ages and abilities as part of Everybody Active North East, a collaborative project between all 12 North East councils and Public Health England North East. It aims to increase levels of physical activity in adults by showcasing a different activity in a different part of the region each month.

Free taster sessions, including yoga, Pilates and Zumba are taking place to promote physical activity.

Councillor Smith added: “Physical activity has many benefits but sometimes people may feel they don’t know where to start or just don’t have the confidence to go on their own to a class or gym session.

“The aim of showcasing facilities this month is to let people know what is happening locally and also to encourage them to try out the facilities. We have classes taking part in a range of different settings as well as our local gyms and these include exercise classes and outside walks which we hope as many people as possible take part in.

“We’re also celebrating our wellbeing service called Change4Life South Tyneside this month which offers you help you with stopping smoking, cutting back on alcohol, healthier eating, how to get more exercise and much more.”

For more information about the tastes sessions, visit www.change4lifesouthtyneside.co.uk For details about The Bike Park visit www.TheBikePark.wordpress.com.

or call Sustrans on 0191 261 6160