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Shifting gears with the Glenavon Community Hub

January 18, 2021 | 2 minutes  read

No matter where we live in a city, we all need to be able to move about freely in fun and healthy ways. To get on a bike to your friends’ place, a sports practice across town, or just head out for a bike ride. A city that is great for everyone to live in is one which supports our health and wellbeing with ways to be active in our local neighbourhoods.

For over a decade, the number of people using bikes to get around has been on the decline, due to several persistent factors including lack of designated road space and extensive use of cars.

However, the Glenavon Community Hub is shifting gears in West Auckland, aiming to encourage community members to get back on that bike.

The strength of the initiative is supporting well-known community members to become bike champions, who support the community to learn everything from how to ride to everyday maintenance through activities hosted at the Hub. The initiative is spearheaded by Sport Waitākere, Healthy Families Waitākere and the Glenavon Community Hub. Healthy Families Waitākere Systems Innovator, Nischal Chakravarthy explains.

“Through this threefold partnership, we are trialling a new way of doing things where the Hub is equipped with the skills and knowledge to deliver cycling initiatives to the community directly. With funding from Auckland Council’s Community Access Scheme, Community Hub Bike Promoter, Jackie, has been supported through bike-specific training, alongside first aid certification.”

Over this time, the bike trail at Glenavon School has been open three times a week after school and several workshops have been held, seeing the number of regular cyclists double. Community Hub Bike Promoter, Jackie, explains.

“We’ve seen a real interest in regular bike-riding from the community, resulting in the bike trail regularly used and workshops well-attended. The Hub is on the same grounds as the Glenavon School, which has meant the whole whānau can come down and take part together.

We’ve recently noticed that many riders weren’t using helmets, so we’re currently looking into how we can help these families’ access helmets.”

The bike trail initiative is part of a larger piece of work, the Community Access Scheme (CAS), which aims to open local facilities (such as pools, bike trails, and tennis/netball/basketball courts) to the community. Led by Sport Waitākere, CAS has been underway since 2018 with over 15 schools and local facilities being utilised more. Sport Waitākere CAS Project Manager, Deepika Unka, explains.

“The West Auckland community is growing exponentially, and with it - the demand on existing sport and recreation infrastructure. We know many West Auckland schools have facilities which aren’t being used outside school hours.”

Opening up these facilities to the community not only provides a local solution, but can also be an income generation source for schools. It provides schools with a point of connection to their local community, and ultimately a very local option for the community to access sport and recreation.

The Glenavon Community Hub bike trail is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday every week from February 2021.

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