Active Dorset reached out to network of partners when we were informed of the Tackling Inequalities Fund to see if we could utilise their networks to reach swiftly the targeted under-represented groups identified within the fund. This process of using our partnerships to reach less traditional groups and individuals worked well and brought back a number of avenues of enquiry.
One early piece we heard regularly was around the potential to increase active travel but how those from LSEG backgrounds and especially BAME, Women and Girls and Older People were especially reticent or unsure to begin cycling.
Shared insight with the local race equality council (DREC) about the specific issues relating to BAME residents who worked as key workers showed that COVID-19 was preventing the practise of regularly sharing one car between 3 or 4 individuals to get to and from work. DREC spoke to some of the affected persons which established that cycling was an option but that they often had unused and dilapidated bicycles they could access and some help to renovate them would make a big difference.
Similar conversations with people and community organisations in LSEG areas in Bournemouth and Weymouth have emphasised similar issues and to address these the idea of a ‘getting your bike fit’ series of open, free outdoor workshops , cited near to LSEG areas, where guidance on bike maintenance and crucially involving people in their own maintenance would be provided.
Active Dorset is close to the cycling community in the BCP conurbation as it directly runs the velodrome and supports a number of clubs that access that facility. We have taken learning from some of the workforce here who have been involved in cycle repair initiatives and our contacts within the local authorities and organisations such as Sustrans; this has helped address the key barrier finding workforce with the skills and time capacity to provide the necessary guidance. There are currently very long waiting times to get repairs done at traditional bike shops.
We have established a delivery format together with a new none-for profit social enterprise (The Green TLC) who promote active travel and sustainable living. They are keen to reach out to the LSEG communities Active Dorset identified and offer support for individuals to repair their bikes, promote safe routes and offer more general safety and motivational support through a number of ‘getting your bike fit’ sessions.
These sessions are scheduled to by end of July in north Bournemouth and then in Weymouth & Portland.
Key outcomes are:
· Targeted at LSEG residents
· Support to repair your own bike so confidence and skills are left with the resident
· Potential for informal cycling groups to be coordinated in each area and/or links to existing groups
· Potential to upscale in scattered deprivation areas of Dorset