Autism charity launches cycle programme in Gilford

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Local charity Autism Initiatives NI recently launched their Balanceability – Learn to Cycle programme in the Gilford Community Centre.

Commencing on November 4, the programme teaches children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) the skills to ride a bike independently.

Health and Activity Coordinator, Pauline Graham, explained: “Research has shown that many children with a diagnosis of an ASC struggle to master the skill of cycling due to difficulties with balance and motor control.

“The programme develops these skills both on and off the bike - it has been brilliant to seeing so many of the group pedalling their bike independently by the end of the six-week programme.”

National Director, Grainne Close, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for people with autism to do something really exciting and new.

“We are delighted to be able to offer this programme and grateful to the Sport NI who have supported us.”

Chief executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, commented: “Sport Northern Ireland is delighted to have funded this project.

“It is great to see that our investment is providing value for money and increasing sporting opportunities. Projects such as this are vital in increasing the number of children and adults experiencing, enjoying and participating in sport and physical activity.”

The six-week programme is free to attend for children aged five to 15 years and anyone looking to enquire about the programmes or book a place should contact Pauline Graham on 02890 699130 or email