Stepping stanes was re-created in 2014 by a small group of dedicated and committed people. Our aim is to get young people between the age of 8-12 into the fantastic world of cycling by providing coaching sessions in a fun and safe environment. We hold weekly sessions in Dumfries and cover most disciplines.
Our project developed because some local people discussed the idea of a club and feedback received from parents, coaches and others suggested that they wanted a young person's cycling club in Dumfries. Other clubs exist in different towns however, Dumfries parents were experiencing barriers in attending the other clubs; travel costs, oversubscription and time required to attend another town's club. The parents and care givers want their children to be safe cyclists and learn essential skills and techniques from qualified coaches and assistants. We now have a regular membership list of children.
We aim to be inclusive and have applied for some of the funding. This will be for equipment and safety measures. We feel some children in the town are attending the sessions with bikes and safety equipment which is either below safety levels or inadequate for their age. This is evident when we complete the session `bike M check' (a safety check of each bike). Some parents and care givers cannot always afford or provide equipment for their children. We want to have some bikes and helmets available to allow any child to be involved with the club irrespective of background, socioeconomic status or family situation.
We have community and parental support of the club. We encourage parents, care givers and family to be involved in the club by assisting in various ways. This may be helping to sign some children in and out of the sessions while the coaches talk to the other children and set up the session. Some also ride and assist during the sessions. This ensures we have enough adults available to support with any incidents, injury or other matters arising. We have a dedicated committee who regularly meet to discuss club matters and sessions. At present, another father of a member has asked to join the committee.Back
Stepping stanes was re-created in 2014 by a small group of dedicated and committed people. This included two certified cycling coaches, some keen parents, local cyclists and our regional Development officer from Scottish cycling. We held a meeting to discuss our club further. We invited lots of stakeholders and interested parties such as Rhian Davies, Cycling Officer, I Bike (Dumfries and Galloway) from Sustrans, Senga, our local Active Schools coordinator, Peter McCormick, Sustainable transport from the Council and other interested parties. We decided that a club with weekly sessions was required and we would start using the local council sports facility to hold sessions. We have engaged with a local cycling shop to offer discount to club members and we hope to have a local bike mechanic offer a bike ‘clinic’ session to check the safety and mechanics of the children’s bikes.
We run weekly coach led sessions and group rides in the local area. This may be at the local school track area or a forest depending on the time of year. It is designed for young riders aged approx 8-12 years old. We have a limited number of qualified coaches, equipment and safety equipment to provide the young people. We want to increase the age group we offer coaching to. We are in the process of training three more coaches. We actively encourage parents to be involved in the sessions, providing assistance and practical support in the sessions. This may be ‘signing in and out’
How did you promote your project?
We have a website, steppingstones.co.uk and a Facebook page which are regularly updated by club members. We use this to update parents about session location, the type of coaching planned for the session, photo’s of sessions, skills, races and any other stepping stanes related information. We have worked closely with Fiona from Scottish Cycling for guidance and promotion on their website and how to safely promote the club. As we only have two qualified coaches at present, we have limited our advertising to word of mouth so that we are not over subscribed with children. We will promote our cyclocross races to other local cycling clubs in Dalbeatite and Annan via social media, the website and word of mouth.Back
We meet once per week on a Wednesday evening. During the lighter summer months, we took the sessions to some local forests and taught skills there, having a ‘race’ at the end of the session to consolidate skills and introduce the race element. The children thoroughly enjoy the races and are looking forward to entering other local ones.
We have 20 members and regularly get this amount attending each week. We decided to hold the sessions throughout the year, including school holidays. This improves continuity for the young people and adults alike.
What one feature of your project would you highlight as a particular success or unique aspect?
We feel the community team spirit has really developed within the club. All members receive a Stepping stanes t-shirt or cycling shirt and they wear this to each session. To then see the children participate in a race and be a member of ‘team’ is a great success. We have a club house at our local forest Mabie where we meet over the summer months when we have day light. It is a success to have the children meet there, develop new friendships and improve their skills.Back
We have annual membership with membership cards. This ensures we have any financial costs for membership paid for. We encourage and involve parents as much as possible to assist with various session related tasks. This means we have enough people to assist if there are any incidents, disruptions or rides in other areas such as a forest trail. We use the local council sports ground and the charge for this is covered by a weekly session charge which the children/parents pay each week.
The secretary of the club has applied to the Big Lottery for funding. If successful, this funding will be used to purchase some new equipment, bikes, helmets, cones and other coach training such as first aid and level 2 coaching. It is hoped that interested parents can be assisted with any costs incurred. We are working closely with Scottish cycling to learn best practice, how to promote the club events to others and run as a successful cycling club.Back
We want the young people of Dumfries to have the opportunity to be fit, active and have the ability to socialise with other children in a safe environment. We aim to increase physical activity in 8-12 year old’s. Once we have more coaches, our age range will increase. Our sessions are held on a Wednesday evening for one and a half hours. Within the sessions, we are active; warm-up, coach led session followed by a warm-down ensures the children are active for the entire session. We believe this will add to the child's national physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate activity, including school-based activity, every day of the week.Back