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BBC ride in to help West Lea School

Published on:

24 January 2017

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Staff from BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, visited West Lea School as part of their work within the community.

Staff from BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, visited West Lea School as part of their work within the community.

Staff from 'Team Worldwide' showed off their mechanical skills as they built and repaired a range of cycles for students at the school. The team spent an entire day fixing and cleaning over 30 bicycles that had fallen into disrepair and couldn’t be used for the schools bike clubs.

West Lea is a community school for students with special needs from 4 years to 18 years old. The school focusses on developing skills for life and training young people to develop independence.  For some this includes being able to travel to and from school by bike. 

Carmel Fox, Associate Headteacher said "Bike Club happens every day during lunch time and once a week after school. Although we have had some support with bike maintenance gradually many of the bikes have just become unusable and we needed some help. In particular, most of our specialist bikes were in need of repair. We were limited in the number of students we could have in our clubs. More bikes means more children having fun and in time becoming trained enough to travel by bike. In addition, students enjoy learning to ride safely and have fun whilst also developing a healthy lifestyle. Only one member of staff is currently able to maintain our cycles but the scale of the issue needed a 'DIY SOS' approach to get us started.

"My husband is a cyclist with an interest in the mechanical side of things. As a result of this and BBC Worldwide's 'Team Worldwide' programme, he was able to get together colleagues that could help us. The result was a highly organised team who successfully fixed 32 bikes between 10am to 4pm".

Karen McKenzie, Head of Business Analysis for Global Operations Technology, Corporate Systems at BBC Worldwide, led the team and along with 15 other colleagues transformed the school stock of bikes. "It's a bit of a departure from our day job but the team has worked really hard and it was great to see the students enjoying themselves riding around the playground at the end of the day.  It was a very rewarding day"

Most of the bikes at the school have been donated and vary from tricycles to scooters. Some students with physical disabilities need adapted bikes to enable them to have the opportunity to take part.

The school want to extend the bike club to as many of its students as possible. Carmel Fox told us "We are always looking for new bikes that suit the children’s needs and welcome donations. We would especially love to have some bikes which would enable our students who use wheelchairs to join in".

Over the last year though Team Worldwide, BBC Worldwide's employees have contributed time and skills across the globe  to over 50 schools and community organisations, ranging from those that work with children, older people, those less fortunate than us, animals and the environment.