Our youth engagement programme ‘Hands-On’ has been built to engage young people who are as risk of offending, or exclusion and offer them an alternative learning experience which takes them out of the classroom and focuses instead on personal development, Teamwork, Leadership and Communication and uses bikes as a tool to help develop a range of practical and ‘soft’ skills.

Typically run over 6 weeks, the course builds week on week to develop students practical knowledge of bike mechanics, starting with changing tyres and fixing inner tubes and works towards adjusting brakes, tuning gears and completing safety checks on the rest of the bike. Learners also get plenty of opportunity to develop their riding skills by taking part in practical riding sessions outside. They also work towards a host of other core skills by taking part in discussions and activities designed to challenge and help them to evaluate their behaviour and to help them look at what they would like to achieve moving forward.

These sessions have been delivered successfully in community settings in partnership with both Avon and Somerset Police and Network Rail, helping to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and reduce the impact of boredom based crime in the local area. During our pilot year in 2010, delivering activities at 2 hotspot site sin Bristol, overall rail crime was reduced by over 60% and during targeted times when we were on site, ASB and crime related calls to the police were reduced to zero. We continue to work closely with both Network Rail and Avon and Somerset Police, targeting groups of young people at risk of offending across the area.

Schools have also benefited from Hands-On courses, with primary, middle and secondary schools using us to engage with some of their harder to reach learners. Schools have reported increases in attendance, improvements in behaviour, decreases in absences and overall improvement in attitude and willingness to join in of pupils taking part. The opportunity to keep pupils on site rather than refer them to a PRU and ultimately re-engage them into class and mainstream activities is extremely rewarding, both for the pupil and for the school.

If you would like us to visit your school or establishment and discuss a group of young people and how we can help them, please do get in touch using the form below.