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Biking for better wellbeing: how Change Cycle impacts young people’s mental health

Posted on 03 June 2021

Bike Week, delivered by Cycling UK, is an annual celebration of cycling and all the benefits it brings to our lives. This year, Bike Week (30 May – 5 June) is focusing on the benefits having a bike can bring to your health and wellbeing.

How can having a bike help our mental health?

Getting outdoors and staying active can massively contribute to health and wellbeing. Having a bike not only means you have a form of exercise, but it is a way of easily travelling to new places and having adventures. These activities can be a lot of fun, but they also build confidence and motivation as we visit new places, go out our comfort zones and face challenges through maintaining our bikes.

Unfortunately, having a bike is a privilege that not everyone has access to. At Venture Trust we recognise the many benefits that having a bike can bring, and want to ensure that the young people we work have access to the same opportunities through our Change Cycle course.

Change Cycle, funded by Cycling Scotland, supports participants to build aspiration, motivation and self-confidence while developing key employability skills. The course is for young people who are not in work, education, or training, facing long term unemployment and disadvantage or potentially at risk of (re-)offending or anti-social behaviour.

The course builds confidence and gets you talking to people. The staff are brilliant and the fact that you get a bike at the end of it makes it even better. It’s a massive bonus, so I’m trying to get out on the bike as much as I can.”Dylan, Change Cycle participant

How does Change Cycle impact wellbeing?

Of the 60 young people that took part in Change Cycle in 2019-20

  • 61% got into work, study, volunteering or training
  • 77% increased their confidence
  • 79% improved wellbeing

The bike is a crucial part of our Change Cycle course as it is used as a central focus point to engage young people. Young people take instructions, build social skills, learn how to maintain and care for their bike, as well as learning different safety situations. Once they have successfully built their bike, they not only have a sense of achievement but have formal qualifications they can put on their CV. They also now have a means of travelling to interviews and training opportunities.

  • 94% of participants reported an increase in skills 
  • 81% of participants felt that they had achieved change in their behaviours and aspirations 

“Venture Trust are working to make a positive life possible for people who have had adverse life experiences by introducing them to learning and development opportunities in the great Scottish outdoors. Bikes bring people together and can play a massive role in addressing some of the challenges that communities face, and through supporting organisations like Venture Trust we can reach many more people.” – Cycling Scotland

Find out more about our employability programmes and Change Cycle course. You can also sign up to our newsletter for the latest employability news.


Topics in this post:

cycling health wellbeing mental health young people employment employability

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