A NEW scheme has been launched to give young people free use of bikes to help put them on the road to a brighter future.

It’s part of a package of measures put together by Gwynedd-based charity, GISDA – which supports vulnerable young people aged between 16 and 25 – thanks to funding from UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund

The aim of the innovative project called TAPI (Tim o Amgylch y Person Ifanc which means the Team Around the Young Person) is to improve the services for young people in Gwynedd in collaboration with other organisations.

GISDA have teamed up with social enterprise Antur Waunfawr which provides employment and training opportunities for people with learning disabilities in their own community.

They run a scheme called Beics Antur which has a hub in Porth yr Aur, in the centre of Caernarfon, where members of the public can hire bikes.

As a result of the partnership, young people being supported by GISDA can now ride the bikes free of charge in the late afternoons.

Gwenlli Wynne, Business Development Manager at Antur Waunfawr, said: “Bicycles are available at our Porth yr Aur base in Caernarfon for up to two hours.

“The young people can take them out and go for a ride and have some fun and all for free.

“We have also organised trips out on Tuesday afternoons which are a little longer, up to three hours and they build up the confidence of the riders. We hope to increase these sessions in the near future.”

Antur Waunfawr are also providing GISDA youngsters with work experience opportunities as part of the six-month project.

Gwenlli added: “Our recycling projects are a key part of Antur Waunfawr and our Caergylchu, Warws Werdd and Beics Antur projects offer a range of work and training opportunities.

“Since Antur Waunfawr was first established, the charity has developed, and now employs more than 100 staff and supports over 65 adults with learning difficulties.

“We offer the youngsters from GISDA the opportunity to learn new skills and hope these will make a difference to their lives.”

Ceri Hughes, Communications Coordinator at GISDA, said: “The aim of the project is to  evaluate the importance of providing a tailored holistic service that ensures that access to the number of services is a smooth process for the young person.

“Many organisations provide services for young people but finding the right one can be very difficult for the individual. Nor does it get easier when support is accepted – it can then very difficult for a young person to coordinate all support without a support network and someone to lead the way.”

GISDA Chief Executive Sian Tomos added: “The project is an opportunity for us to outline and raise awareness of the barriers and frustrations in delivering services to young people.

“One very simple virtue that leads to successful outcomes is the importance of giving  young people time – over time we can build healthy and strong relationships and gain trust that provides a solid foundation from which to look at all the other elements a young person needs.

“It can be 15-20 hours a week for one  person. In our opinion and experience, this is all that is needed to make a real difference.

“This grant from the Community Renewal Fund is giving us the opportunity to step back and look at services for young people and think about how we can improve or do  things differently for the benefit of young people in Gwynedd.

“We are very grateful for this resource and appreciate the investment from the UK Government and the support of Gwynedd Council.”

GISDA was established in 1985 to provide support and accommodation for homeless young people in the Gwynedd area.

In 1989, in partnership with housing association Cymdeithas Tai Eryri, GISDA opened its first hostel, called Hafan, in Caernarfon, for eight young people. Since then two more hostels have been opened, both in  Blaenau Ffestiniog. GISDA also has two fully-furnished houses in Dolgellau, which are owned by another housing association, Tai Clwyd.

Today GISDA supports young homeless people and their families throughout Gwynedd to include single young people, single parents, expectant mothers, couples and families.