Hackney kids take home new bikes after completing six-week cycling course
PUBLISHED: 14:48 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 06 September 2019
Children celebrated completing a cycling course by taking home a brand new set of wheels.
The 21 youngsters were given the gifts on Friday last week as a reward for all the effort they put in during the six-week summer project.
The course was run by the East London NHS Foundation Trust's (ELFTs) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) department.
CAMHS teamed up with organisation Bikeworks to give young people who use the service or are known to it a chance to learn more about cycling.
The kids visited BMX tracks in Stratford and Lee Valley VeloPark at Olympic Park, where the bike sessions were held.
Jamie Powell learned to ride during the course and gave the project five out of five.
His grandmother, Sandra Durrant, was proud of his achievement.
She told the Gazette: "I can't ride a bike so I don't know how [I could teach him] if I can't do it myself.
"He's going into secondary school so I'm glad he's not embarrassed when he goes to school, now that he can ride a bike.
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"The staff at [CAMHS] are marvellous and they've helped him out so much."
Vicky Rodrigues, of CAMHS, added: "The real beauty of this is their sense of achievement.
"Many of the young people have grown in confidence especially the ones who couldn't ride.
"When they first started you could see they were anxious. When they couldn't [do something at first] you know there was some tears but with so much positive praise and encouragement they've done it."
CAMHS is an NHS service for young people and their families concerned with emotional well-being, behaviour and mental health.
It organises activities all year round and hopes to offer the bike course again next year as long as funding can be secured.
This year it was funded by GroundWork, a charity that works to support kids from disadvantaged communities around the country.
Each session involved instructors from Bikeworks as well as clinicians from CAMHS. The project hopes to encourage greater emotional and physical well-being.
"These kids don't get these kinds of opportunities," said Vicky.
"Every child got something from it [whatever] their ability."