Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cycle Project Gets Teens on the Right Track; THE DISPOSSESSED FUND

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cycle Project Gets Teens on the Right Track; THE DISPOSSESSED FUND

Article excerpt

Byline: Maxine Frith

LONDONERS' passion for cycling is helping some of the most disadvantaged children and teenagers in the capital, thanks to the Evening Standard's Dispossessed Fund.

The Sparkplug Project in King's Cross is teaching young people who are not in education, work or training how to repair and maintain bicycles.

Organisers of the six-week course hope it will encourage them into schools, colleges and employment.

Sparkplug was set up in 2002 to work with young men who had been caught joyriding on scooters. They learned mechanics for motorbikes and were given the chance to enjoy off-road riding with mentors.

Recently, however, Sparkplug realised the huge rise in cyclists in London had not been matched by an increase in bike repair shops. It will use a Dispossessed grant of [pounds sterling]19,843 to fund the new course: broken and dilapidated bikes are being taken to the workshop, where youths are taught to mend and maintain them -- with the promise of keeping the finished article at the end. During the course, project staff talk to them about life skills, numeracy, literacy and employment, including getting formal mechanic qualifications and setting up bike repair businesses.

About 10 per cent of Londoners aged 16 to 19 are classed as Neets -- not in employment, education or training. …

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