Cycling lessons for every primary pupil in Aberdeen
Charity to provide free classes at city's schools after winning £38,000 funding.
By Laura Alderman
A charity has secured vital funding to make sure every child in Aberdeen learns how ride a bike.
Sport Aberdeen has launched the £38,000 programme after it was found that children in almost every P7 class had never experienced the activity.
The charity will now offer free cycling lessons to those pupils, operating out of the Adventure Aberdeen centre in Kingswells.
Mike Gifford, from Sport Aberdeen, which runs a variety of outdoor education programmes, said he first noticed a need for the initiative while taking P7 pupils out on school camps.
He said: "When we take them away we go mountain biking with them. Before we maybe used to have one or two per class (that couldn't ride), now were getting four or five pupils per class who can't ride.
"Unfortunately we're having to find other activities for them to do. It highlighted the issue really.
"There's lots of reasons, one reason could be they're inside playing computer games. Some areas there'll be deprivation and they might not get the chance to ride a bike."
The charity said many schools across Aberdeen struggle to provide regular cycling lessons due to staff shortages or teachers being unable to give up class time.
'Hopefully it'll help us have a healthy and active community in the long run'Mike Gifford
They're hoping this initiative will ease that pressure.
Mike said: "Like learning any new skill, it makes them feel good. Hopefully it'll help us have a healthy and active community in the long run.
"If they learn how to bike now, they'll be cycling to work in 20 years' time."
Sport Aberdeen's director of healthy and active communities, Keith Gerrard, said the Adventure Aberdeen scheme could have long-term health benefits for the area.
Mr Gerrard said: "We are committed to creating opportunities, inspiring people and changing lives.
"Getting children out and on their bikes from an early age is so important to ensure that this practice carries into their adult lives, and helps move Aberdeen towards being the most active city in Scotland."
The initiative has been made possible due to £20,000 in funding from the Cycling Scotland charity and £18,000 from Aberdeen City Council.