Carrick Futures Fund - Girvan Wheelers
Girvan Wheelers was started in 2017, with the help of Cycling UK, to organise cycle rides, tours, events and training in Girvan and South Carrick. It aims to increase the health and wellbeing of the communities of Girvan and surrounding areas by raising awareness of the benefits of cycling and by providing affordable cycling opportunities.
In 2021 Girvan Wheelers worked in partnership with Biosphere Bikes and Active Travel Ayr to reinvigorate a bike project based at Girvan Academy. At that time there were two shipping containers on the school grounds, donated by Cairnryan Port ten years previously, that were used for storing 25 bikes, purchased a few years beforehand, to create a ‘bike library’. One of the containers had deteriorated and was leaking so was no longer fit for purpose, and the lead on the bike project had left the school so the bikes had been unused for a number of years. In March 2021, Girvan Wheelers applied for funding to replace the leaking shipping container and to purchase bike safety equipment and the tools needed to set up a bike maintenance workshop.
The full project cost was £9,196 which included the cost of the purchase and delivery of a 40’ shipping container, collection and disposal of the old container, eight bike stands, maintenance tools, spare bike parts, work aprons, bike helmets, bike locks and bike lights.
Girvan Wheelers requested £8,500 from Carrick Futures, with the remaining funds secured from Cycling UK. The Carrick Futures fund is administrated by Foundation Scotland.
To complement this project, one teacher at Girvan Academy offered weekly sessions on cycling skills. Another teacher completed Bike Maintenance training, funded by Girvan Academy, which allowed pupils them to offer SQA courses in Bike Maintenance.
This offered Academy pupils the chance to get their bikes fixed for free at the school as part of this National 4 Cycle Maintenance Course. Bike maintenance and Cycling as Exercise are now scheduled into the school curriculum. As a direct result, two school leavers are undertaking a course in Bike Maintenance at Stranraer College.
Girvan Wheelers were also involved in the #andshecycles movement, to increase girl’s skills on bikes and to encourage more to cycle by offering female-only led bike rides and mountain biking. This resulted in a women’s cycling group being formed that borrows bikes from the bike library. 38 Academy pupils are also now learning BMX skills.
Girvan Wheelers bike project has been successful on many fronts. It has provided young people with new skills and confidence in using a bike and has increased access to cycling with its many associated benefits including the promotion of an accessible mode of transport, a healthy outdoor activity, and a form of positive social interaction.
As a result of the grant award by Carrick Futures and the success of this project, Girvan Wheelers secured additional funding to purchase e-bikes for the bike library that are now being loaned out to Girvan residents. The positive work that Girvan Wheelers is doing in relation to cycling and bike skills would not have been possible without the financial support from Carrick Futures.
Sheona Johnson, Project Lead said:
“Many young people do not have the opportunity or skills to ride a bicycle and without this funding, would not have been able to access bikeability skills. There has been an increase in pupils riding to school and also gaining the skills, knowledge and confidence to maintain their bikes. There have been a number of partners supporting the project including Biosphere Bikes and Active Travel and the project has enabled young people to engage with other community groups, such as Girvan Men’s Shed and Girvan Youth.”