Sunderland residents will be supported to get on their bike, thanks to a partnership that has delivered a £30,000 boost for Southwick.

Labour councillors in the ward have led a drive to secure funding that will create a new bike track, where people can learn to ride or where lapsed cyclists can confidently jump back on their bike.

Thanks to a bid to British Cycling’s Place to Ride Fund, Sunderland City Council has secured £15,000, which has been matched by a £15,000 pledge from the North Area Committee Fund, and together, the funding will deliver a brand-new track in Thompson Park.

The ‘Learn to Ride’ track and cycling skills area is expected to be in place by the end of the year, and the council is now working with Sunderland Young People’s Bike Project to engage the community and ensure that they make use of the free facility when it opens to the public.

Councillor Alex Samuels, ward councillor for Southwick, who has – along with fellow Labour councillors in the area – championed the park as the perfect hub for such a facility, said: “Thompson Park is a fantastic community asset already and has been a focus of our efforts as local Labour councillors, to ensure we enhance its natural beauty with spaces that families can enjoy.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have secured investment that will pave the way for a space that will add so much value to people of all ages who are looking for a way of staying fit and active.

“The city has seen huge investment in walking routes and cycle pathways, not only as a means of supporting more sustainable transport across Sunderland, but to ensure people have the opportunity to lead healthier lives.  Through this new facility in Thompson Park, we will be helping more of our residents to connect with an activity that keeps them fit, and hopefully more people from outside the area will have the chance to come and enjoy this stunning community park.”

The Places to Ride programme is funding the development of new or the improvement of existing cycling facilities and activities in communities across England. The programme is being delivered through a partnership of British Cycling, Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).