One such an event was organised by Cheshire Police in conjunction with Cheshire Fire Service, Chester Council (CWAC) and Weaverham Parish Council. Not only was it aimed at tackling antisocial behaviour but safety as well, in terms of lights on bikes at night.PCSO Karen Nixon said: “It’s just about being seen and being safe because there’s been such an issue of kids riding bikes with no lights.” She went on to say, “When we’ve stopped them in the past they’ve said they can’t afford lights, they had some but lost them or that they’re not trendy.”
The PCSOs were joined by Dominic Rogers, the youth ambassador for the Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner, to fit the lights and the cyclists, aged from five to 19, were let loose on the ramps. Standing with the Ramp Riders crew he said, “I’ve got no BMX ability myself but I would love to be able to do what these kids can do.” Watching their behavior he went on to say, “It’s good to see so many people out and they’re using the lights as a fashion accessory.”
Dad-of-two Alex Bennett said, “This is brilliant for the kids – they’ve come out, they love it and they’re well behaved.” In the cold dark winter night with Ramp Riders lights blazing and hot chocolate being gulped by all he said, “This proves that even in winter there’s so many kids that want to come out, have a go and have a laugh.”
Ramp Riders and Inclusion
Ramp Riders wants its impact on a community to be far greater than providing a Skate Park for an isolated group of teens. It wants to see bridges built and each individual, be they young or old having a sense of belonging, feeling respected by all those around, and by such being valued for who they are. We work from a level of supportive energy and commitment from our staff and volunteers that encourages you to do your best.” Our best events are where everyone in the community seems to be involved… Now for us that’s INCLUSION. inclusion 4.7 Ramp Riders are about valuing all individuals, giving them equal access and opportunity to all that they do and provide, removing discrimination and other barriers that may be there that would hinder their involvement. Often we can feel that our race, gender, disability or other attribute which can be perceived as different isolates and disconnects us from those around us, and our community. Leaving our voice unheard, and with a sense of being worthless. What’s great about Ramp Riders is that the children feel valued by the groups or organisations that bring us in and that barriers be it between young or old, police or teens or just children and their peer groups are broken down.
Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham
Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham like Keaton Murry above was born with spina bifida, a defect of the spinal cord that, among other things, limited his ability to walk. But being bound to crutches and a wheelchair since he was 3 years old never stopped this charismatic, determined youngster from achieving his dream. He does not see the wheelchair as burden, but rather an “awesome tool” that enables him to move around and have fun with it. “I have wheels stuck to my butt. How can that not be fun!”, he said.
inclusion 6.5Keaton Murry experiencing the Quarter with the help of Ramp Riders Nathaniel Fitton. Keaton approached the Ramp Riders staff and asked could he go on the Ramps at one of our events. There was no reason why he couldn’t from our perspective, although he did say that he had asked another skate park organisation and was turned away in the past. So after assessing Keaton’s ability along with the limitations of his chair we enrolled him onto the Ramps. With constant assessments, the adapting of methods and with feedback from Keaton both he and us broke down barriers, pushed limits and achieved beyond our dreams.
Thousands Challanged and Changed
We have seen more than 4,500 young people attend events across the North West, from schools to festivals and community events. We have seen Young people develop and become helpers, assisting staff with helmet fitting and collection of equipment and mending punctures and small repairs. Ramp Riders, who run on a team of staff and volunteers have seen young people, re-focus and look towards future careers through its volunteer positions and such. This year we look towards implementing our Mentoring and Sponsorship programme to offer more options for young people.
This year in 2015
Ramps Riders are looking to what else we can bring to the local areas. We have implemented an onsite Bicycle Repair Workshops and launch our Basic Maintenance Courses that have taken years in the making. As it is, the mobile skate park continues to encourage, develop and provide a safe environment for everyone. Ramp Riders… Yet again setting wheels in motion.
The Bicycle Repair Workshop was primarily intended to be a complementary service to the Ramp Riders Mobile Skate Park, which provides bicycles and safety equipment on loan to many of the youngsters who don’t have their own. In addition to maintaining our stock of bicycles and equipment in top-notch operational condition, the Workshop also offers those with Scooters and Bikes that need servicing an opportunity to do such, and repair their no longer used items, getting them up and about again. Since it was implemented in 2010, with relatively limited resources, we have undertaken something in the order of over 1,000 repair jobs. We believe we can accomplish much more once we have improved our facilities and achieved funding for replacement parts.
We have been encouraged by surveys in the past amongst young people who have used the Mobile Skate Park. With more than 90% of them indicating an active interest in learning to repair and maintain their own bikes. This has led us to creating courses that equip the youngsters with the knowledge and hands on approach to be able to maintain and repair their Bikes and Scooters.<br /> Courses2These two courses are officially launched in September 2015, being aimed predominantly at Schools, but adapted for onsite use.<br /> As always we work at establishing close-working relationships also helps to influence young people through more positive role models than many they may encounter on our streets.