Care leavers have a ‘wheelie’ good weekend in London

Pedal power was the name of the game for a group of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust care leavers when they took part in the seventh annual Ride London national cycling festival at the weekend.

The trio, led by Personal Advisor from the Trust’s 18+ services, Alex Stevenson, joined forces as a team with three young people from the Flying Futures project, their leader Bobby Johnson and former Olympic swimmer James Kirton, for the 46-mile route around the capital.

The riders found muscles they didn’t know they had during four months of tough training with James after being just one of three groups from the region to be selected to be coached by an Olympian athlete, for the Prudential sponsored event.

Their bikes were provided courtesy of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust; their cycling kit by Go outdoors; and their water bottles and holders by the Doncaster branch of Halfords.

“It was a busy but amazing weekend,” says Alex. “There were around 10,000 cyclists taking part in the event, with three different length routes. Ours started at the Olympic Park, went over London Bridge and past the Eye, then out towards Surrey via Richmond Park and back into London via Putney and past Westminster. We got a fabulous close-up view of all the London sightseeing landmarks. It was better than being on an open-top tour bus!”

As well as staying over on Saturday night in the Imperial College halls of residence, the young people also enjoyed refreshments in a VIP riders’ lounge after the event, which took them less than four hours to complete.

“It was a great experience for our young people and has provided them with memories that will last a lifetime. Plus, we all got fitter into the bargain!” says Alex.

Andy Hood, Senior Head of Service Young People’s Services at the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, said: “We’re all really proud of what the young people have achieved. To commit to the rigorous training and then to complete the ride is no mean feat.”

“A huge thank you – you have given her the best chance of a secure future.”

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