Cycle scheme for Syrian refugees wins national award

Fri, 02 Nov 2018

A cycling scheme for refugees led by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s road safety team and the Refugee Council has won a top national award.

Forty refugees from Syria who settled in the East Riding to escape the civil war in their country were given training in cycling skills and road safety to help them navigate the roads in their new country.

The scheme has now been presented with an award for the Best Sustainable Travel Initiative in the Community at the Modeshift National Sustainable Travel Awards, which were held in Sheffield on 1 November.

The road safety team and The Refugee Council worked together to develop and deliver a training programme earlier this year to encourage refugees to choose cycling as their preferred method of transport.

As part of the scheme, the refugees received reconditioned bicycles and safety gear from the R-evolution charity in Cottingham, providing them with transport so they could travel to education and employment and help them integrate into the local community.

Humberside Police supported the learning sessions, educating the group on how to safely use the British road network.

To celebrate the completion of the course, 24 of the refugees were challenged to take part in a 50-mile bike ride from Cottingham to Sewerby Hall in June.

Accompanied by members of the road safety team, all the refugees completed the ride, stopping off at key locations for employment, education and culture along the way, including East Riding College in Beverley where some of the refugees are students.

Driffield Agricultural Society provided lunch for the cyclists at Driffield Showground, and they also cycled through the inside of the Spa Royal Hall in Bridlington.

Due to the success of the scheme, the council is hoping to run a similar scheme in the future.

Councillor John Barrett, portfolio holder for operational services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: “I’m delighted our road safety team has been recognised for their work on the refugee cycle scheme because it has been a very rewarding project for all involved.

“I saw for myself how the team’s patience and work ethic paid off, and was pleased how quickly the refugees took to the tuition.

“It has made such a difference to the lives of all the refugees who took part, giving them the freedom to travel to school, college and work and help them settle into their new lives in the East Riding.”