£3,000 of police commissioner’s funding pays for bikes for young people leaving care system

Young people leaving care have been provided with bikes to help them access further education, employment or training thanks to £3,000 of funding from the Cambridgeshire police commissioner’s fund.

The commissioner’s ‘youth and community fund’ awarded the money to Cambridgeshire County Council to provide support to young adults leaving the care system.

A Cambs County Council spokesman said: “Leaving care at 18 can be an extremely intimidating experience for young people and has been even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“However, the provision of these bikes has eased this difficult transition, made more challenging during lockdown.

One care leaver, who has previously benefitted from the project, said being provided with a bike made being a care leaver during lockdown easier.

Struggling to be stuck at home, taking on the challenge of learning to ride a bike provided a welcome distraction for them.

Previously, she had never ridden a bike before as girls in Afghanistan are not permitted to do so.

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She said the bike allowed her to get out and exercise during the lockdown after she was taught to ride a bike from a friend in the same accommodation.

As restrictions have eased, she has been able to continue using the bike to help her go shopping and get to and from college.

Ray Bisby, police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “As someone who has dealt closely with the care system myself, this is a project that is particularly close to my heart.

“For a young care leaver with limited access to affordable transport, physically accessing work and education can be difficult.

“I am pleased to be able to use my Youth and Community Fund to supply care leavers with bikes which help break the barriers to their future.”

Cllr Simon Bywater, chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People Committee, said: “For care leavers, moving into adulthood can be a particularly difficult transition and with the added stress and complications of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we do what we can to support them as they begin to live independently.

“With this funding we will be able to secure bicycles for our care leavers, alongside the appropriate equipment such as helmets, bike locks and lights.

“This project allows us to work with care leaves to ensure obstacles preventing access to education, employment or training are minimised whilst simultaneously helping them improve their health and wellbeing.”

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