Once again the combined forces of the Bexley Metropolitan Police and the Bexley Borough Council in addition with Sidcup Cycles have brought together another community project to benefit the young people in the local schools of the Bexley Borough area.

10 free second hand bikes were donated to Shenstone Primary School in Crayford on Tuesday 14th March and the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Eileen Pallen and Bexley borough commander Superintendent Stuart Bell were in attendance to present the school with the bicycles along with safety equipment such as helmets and high visibility vests. Three of Shenstone’s pupils volunteered to try out the bicycles along with the new gear and show off their cycling skills with the help of 4 volunteers from Bexley Council. The headteacher of Shenstone, Ms Lori Ann Mackey, was very pleased with the donation and grateful that her school children shall be able to use the bicycles in PE sessions and also at playtime. She said the school will hope to put in a cycle track on their playground too.

The project was the concept of PC Richard Bradford from the Bexley Met Police and Stephanie Turner from the Bexley Borough Council. The recycle project came about in January 2017 after the Met Police’s successful Christmas Tree Project. Originally, Sidcup Cycles donated a bicycle towards the Christmas Tree Project however it turned out Sidcup Cycles also had 30 spare bikes to be donated. Sidcup Cycles also charitably checked and repaired the second hand bicycles prior to donating them. From there came the idea to use these bicycles as part of a bicycle programme to benefit young people. Stephanie Turner chose Shenstone School and then donated 10 of the bikes to them. Both PC Bradford and Stephanie Turner hope there shall be even more bicycles to come and that the project will not stop there!

PC Bradford stated he believed that, “Cycle education should be a part of schools curriculum and that it is all about teaching young people how to cycle safely before they go into the big wide world. I hope to raise cycle safety awareness and also encourage fitness in younger children and hopefully spread this throughout Bexley schools.” Stephanie Turner also spoke about how Bexley council are putting in lots of effort to get people cycling in Bexley, she said “There shall be a dedicated Bike Day held on Sunday 19th March at Sidcup Leisure Centre run by the council where adults, children or families are taught to ride bicycles, there is something for everyone.”

The donations of bicycles and the brainstorm from the police, the council and the generous work of Sidcup Cycles and all the volunteers involved should hopefully help to revolutionise Bexley and get more younger children aware and informed of this new initiative; a true team effort which is providing a successful innovating project.

Lauren Woodley, Dartford Grammar School for Girls.