A Cockenzie-based youth organisation is leading the way in helping young women get greater enjoyment out of cycling after receiving funding from Sustrans and Transport Scotland.

Heavy Sound CIC, based at Cockenzie Hub, works to transform the lives of vulnerable and disengaged young people through music, biking, sports and mentoring.

A Sustrans survey showed that only half as many young women aged 13 to 18 cycle to school compared to young men of the same age.

The #AndSheCycles campaign has been delivered by Sustrans to highlight the mental, physical and environmental benefits of cycling among girls and young women.

As part of the campaign, Sustrans and Transport Scotland launched the #AndSheCycles Fund. Heavy Sound was one of the benefactors of this fund, receiving kit such as bikes, lockers and outdoor clothing for young women to use.

Members of the group, as well as some women among the staff, say they face numerous social barriers to cycling, including low confidence, money and lack of family support.

The group now hopes this funding will help break down these barriers and provide more opportunities for young women.

Eve Simpson, youth services assistant manager at Heavy Sound, said: “Heavy Sound are delighted to have been awarded this funding to help engage teenage girls, young women, trans and non-binary individuals in learning to ride a bike or increase their confidence on a bike.

“This funding will allow us to remove some of the physical and social barriers that the people we support face with accessing cycling.

“By providing equipment chosen by the group for the group, as well as time, space and support, this project aims to increase the participants’ confidence, health and wellbeing and independence to actively travel safely in the community.”

Heavy Sound now has an ambition to start an #AndSheCycles cycling group, with the addition of new helmets, gloves, bikes and a container.

Dr Cecilia Oram, head of behaviour change at Sustrans, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many worthy applications come through from groups in East Lothian.

“This fund will help more girls and young women experience the improved wellbeing and social bonds that cycling provides.

“It’s so important to support young people who are facing physical and social barriers, such as low confidence or even poverty. We hope they will be happy with their new kit and we can’t wait to see what they get up to.”