Pedalling Towards a Sustainable Future: The ‘Bike Library’ Initiative at Phoenix St Peter Academy

In the seaside town of Lowestoft, a new cycling ethos is taking root, thanks to an innovative and groundbreaking initiative known as the 'Bike Library.' This transformative project, initiated by REAch2 school Phoenix St Peter Academy, is not just about cycling but fostering active travel, empowering pupils, and creating valuable partnerships. As a trust dedicated to educational excellence and community well-being, we are thrilled to see Phoenix St Peter Academy introduce this pilot scheme aimed at promoting active travel.

Fostering Active Travel

Lowestoft has a rich legacy when it comes to cycling, with the Tour of Britain having graced its streets. The 'Bike Library' initiative builds upon this legacy, inspiring all pupils to embrace the spirit of "Get on your bike!" Encouraging active travel, this project promotes healthier, eco-friendly transportation options for our young learners.

Empowering Our Pupils

At the heart of this endeavour are the Year 5 and Year 6 students at Phoenix St Peter Academy, who have enthusiastically embraced the innovative 'Bike Library' scheme. They now have newfound freedom and mobility, thanks to the "amazing opportunity" to access bikes free of charge. This not only provides them with a safe means of exploring their surroundings but also instils in them a sense of independence and responsibility.

To inaugurate this transformative project, a thrilling bike ride along the scenic Lowestoft seafront was organised. This experience marks the beginning of an exciting journey towards a more active and sustainable future.

A picture of two children in high visibility clothing cycling on their bike on a cycling path.
A picture of volunteers from ASDA community who supported the cycling event at the school.
A picture of a child in high visibility clothing cycling on their bike on a cycling path.

Partnerships that Matter

The success of the 'Bike Library' scheme would not have been possible without valuable partnerships. Suffolk County Council played a pivotal role by securing free loan bikes, thanks to funding from Active Travel England's capability and ambition fund. We also extend our heartfelt appreciation to ScottishPower Renewables, the supporting partner of the Suffolk stage of the Tour of Britain, for their additional funding and support.

To ensure pupil safety, we are proud to announce that pupils and their parents or carers will be offered a comprehensive Bikeability training course. This course equips them with essential skills, confidence, and knowledge required to safely navigate the roads with their bicycles. It also imparts the basics of bike maintenance and the principles of safe cycling.

Additionally, the Rotary Club of Lowestoft East Point and Lowestoft Rising have made valuable contributions by providing bike locks and helmets. These additions ensure that our pupils can embark on their cycling adventures with the utmost security and peace of mind.

A Legacy of Collaboration

Richard Smith MVO, Suffolk County Council's cabinet member for economic development, transport strategy, and waste, expressed his gratitude for the partnership with ScottishPower Renewables, stating that this initiative is a positive legacy from the company's support of the Suffolk stage of the Tour of Britain.

Ed Rees, ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia THREE community liaison officer, shares in the excitement, saying, "We're really excited to be working with Suffolk County Council to deliver the pilot Bikeability program for local school pupils."

Phoenix Headteacher, Matthew Jordan, emphasises the significance of this project, noting that "learning to safely ride a bike is a life skill that will give our children great independence in life."

As a trust committed to empowering young minds and contributing to a sustainable future, we are overjoyed to witness the impact of the 'Bike Library' scheme at Phoenix St Peter Academy. This initiative not only encourages active travel but also paves the way for a greener, more independent, and healthier future for our pupils. We look forward to the positive changes this initiative will bring to our community and the inspiration it will provide for other schools and towns to follow suit in promoting active travel. Pedalling towards a sustainable future has never looked more promising.