Skip to content

Looking for Norfolk Police?

Do you need the Police? Visit the Norfolk Police website

Document library

PCC visits SPACE project Not About the Bike

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie, has visited Not About the Bike in North Earlham, Norwich, a project part-funded by SPACE (Supporting Positive Activities and Community Engagement). This partnership fund has been set up to help young people, primarily aged 13 to 15 to engage with positive youth activities.

Not About the Bike is a Norwich based charity, which is run by the Henderson Trust and provides a fully equipped bicycle workshop for the whole community. They run open access, drop-in workshops on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to provide a safe setting for young people to socialise in the evening while teaching them bike repair skills. Thanks to the funding, the project, which started over ten years ago, has been able to increase the hours of one of their youth workers to add capacity, helping more young people to get together in an engaging environment.

On Thursdays, the charity runs more in-depth sessions for young people, and it also offers sessions specifically for young people who are offenders or are at risk of offending.

Scott Porter, Programme Manager at The Henderson Trust, said: “We're in contact with the Norfolk Youth Justice Service and also the local police, so it allows us to get young people in and actually deal with them on a more intensive level in a smaller group size. They need the attention. The funding that you have provided has allowed us to focus more on that. If we can work with even just one young person a year and take one young person from a path that would lead them to potentially, let's say, going to prison, and put them on a path that leads them to getting a job. What's the monetary value in that? It's hundreds of thousands over that person's life.”

Some of the young people who attend are not ‘classroom-shaped’. They struggle to thrive in a school environment and there is a risk of them disengaging. Statistics show that more than half of young adults who received custodial sentences had been persistently absent during schooling, so projects that provide support outside of this environment are vital.

Morgan, who has been attending the Not About the Bike project for five months, said: “I’m part-time at school. Here, I actually learn about something I want to do. Here, you learn more than you would do if it’s in a book, because you're actually doing it instead of writing. If I’m doing it, then I’m more likely to remember it than if I’m writing it in a book.”

Scott added: “to give something that is educational, but isn’t formally educational, I think is quite an important thing for these young people - to know that they can achieve something. Several young people who’ve participated previously found jobs as mechanics.”

Positive activities leading to employment can help reduce youth offending - a key goal of the SPACE funding.

The SPACE funding also contributes towards the costs of other projects the Henderson Trust deliver in the West Norwich area, meaning they can offer even more capacity for young people.

Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie, said: “It’s only when you actually come and see for yourself projects like Not About the Bike that you can begin to understand why they are so important for young people, to give them a positive outlook and a reason to go out on a rainy Tuesday night!

“I’m so pleased that community-based provision like this is providing young people with a positive alternative.  This is why building stronger and safer communities for now and the future has been a top priority in my Police, Crime and Community Safety Plan.”

Catrin Hamer, Senior Programmes Advisor at Norfolk Community Foundation, said: “We’re pleased to see that this funding is already having such a positive impact on young people. This fund has been a collaborative process from the start, and we were pleased to be able to involve young people in every step of the process. At the Foundation, we are always keen to support communities to improve the lives of individuals, and we know that this opportunity has the potential to be truly transformational.”

The SPACE fund is a joint funding project between the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk (OPCCN), Norfolk Community Foundation, Norfolk County Council and Norfolk Youth Advisory Board which seeks to reach young people, primarily aged 13 to 15, and engage them with positive youth activities.

Seed funding from the OPCCN of £50,000 was then given to the Norfolk Community Safety Partnership to encourage further contributions to a children and young people’s fund. This has now grown to over £170,000, jointly funded by the OPCCN, Norfolk Community Foundation, Norfolk County Council and several of Norfolk’s Youth Advisory Boards. The fund has awarded over £170,000 to organisations across the county to help young people access a range of activities. The funded programmes will continue to run until the end of 2025.


L-R: Norfolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Giles Orpen-Smellie, Lena, Mason, Morgan, Mohammad, Jaidan, Not About the Bike Mechanic, Graham and Henderson Trust’s Outreach Support Worker, Beth Maycock.