Evaluating the Free Bikes for Young People Programme

Case Studies > Evaluating the Free Bikes for Young People Programme

Ansons was entrusted with evaluating FEL’s two pilot projects as part of Transport Scotland’s Free Bikes for Young People programme.

This initiative aimed to provide bicycles to school-age children from low-income backgrounds, equipping them with an affordable means of active travel for their everyday journeys.

The evaluation focused on two distinct pilot projects within the programme: ‘Bike Buddies’ and ‘Gearing Up.’ Bike Buddies targeted Primary 7 pupils from six feeder schools, allowing parents and pupils to opt out of the scheme if desired. Gearing Up, on the other hand, focused on vulnerable young people aged 10-16, referred through Barnardo’s.

Both pilot projects involved the permanent provision of bicycles to participants, accompanied by comprehensive wrap-around services such as cycle skills training and maintenance workshops. The Gearing Up initiative specifically ensured small group sessions to offer maximum support and even provided healthy meals during activities to remove any barriers related to food access.

To conduct a thorough evaluation, Ansons developed a robust monitoring and evaluation plan. Then, through focus groups, surveys, and interviews, we gathered valuable monitoring data and insights. This enabled us to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the two delivery models, generating evidence-based recommendations for future implementations.

Our findings not only shed light on the effectiveness and efficiency of the pilot projects, but also provided guidance for enhancing future delivery and improving the monitoring and evaluation process. By leveraging this evidence-based approach, Transport Scotland and other active travel delivery partners can refine and optimise the Free Bikes for Young People programme and other similar initiatives, ensuring that it continues to effectively support young individuals from low-income backgrounds in accessing active travel options for their daily journeys.

“We have worked with Ansons on a number of projects and knew they would have the right approach with our free bikes pilots. They understood our local needs and represented those, in parallel with national programme ambition of Scottish Government.

“The outcomes of the work have informed our on-going delivery of the free bikes projects and we are already implementing many of the recommendations this year.”

Shirley Paterson, Active Travel Development Manager, FEL