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Yorkshire Bank Bike Library Scheme Only One in UK to be Shortlisted for International Award

by Holly Blades

The Yorkshire Bank Bike Library scheme has been revealed as a finalist for an international award - the only UK scheme to be shortlisted. The Peace and Sport Awards is an annual ceremony rewarding organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to peace, dialogue and social stability in the world - through sport.

The Yorkshire Bank Bike Library scheme is a finalist in the category of Sport Simple Program of the Year. The bike library scheme was launched as a legacy of the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014, which was held in Yorkshire.

It has a simple aim: to give every child in Yorkshire access to a bike, for free.The whole community gets involved with the scheme, as anyone with an unwanted bike can donate them at one of the county's 60 donation stations, where they are repaired.

Bikes are then made available for people to borrow completely free of charge from one of the 47 bike libraries across all four corners of Yorkshire. Since the launch of the first Yorkshire Bank Bike Library two years ago, almost 50 bike libraries have opened - and more than 50,000 chances to ride a bike have been offered to children.

Each bike library is different and all offer a range of activities, including short or long-term loans, family rides, skills training or activity sessions.   

Behind the bike libraries are some heart-warming stories about people whose lives have been changed forever.One bike library helps to teach autistic children how to ride a bike for the first time; while another arranges bike rides for families of servicemen and women to help them integrate and make friends in the area.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: "I'm beyond proud and thrilled that this scheme has been shortlisted for such a prestigious award.

"The scheme really is doing amazing things for the children of Yorkshire and I'm so pleased it's being recognised in this way. Fingers crossed for success next month!"
Helen Page, Group Innovation & Marketing Director at Yorkshire Bank, said: "We are delighted that Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries has been nominated for this award. It's exciting to think that an initiative which is rooted in communities across Yorkshire is attracting international recognition."

The awards ceremony will be held in Monaco on Thursday 7th of December. The Bike Library scheme is competing against two other projects - one in Brazil to promote social inclusion for youngsters through sport, the other in Switzerland working with schools to increase participation in softball and baseball.

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