Recruitment drive to expand Sheffield cycling project and help more care home residents get outdoors

A Sheffield cycling project is launching a recruitment drive for volunteers in a bid to give more care home residents a taste of the outdoors.

Wednesday, 21st August 2019, 4:27 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd August 2019, 12:59 pm
Cycling Without Age pilot Jan doing a loop of Norfolk Park from the Wellbeing Centre

Cycling Without Age is an international loneliness project which originally started in Denmark to support the access to nature for care home residents who may otherwise struggle to get out the house.

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Since its Sheffield launch in March, it has already helped dozens of elderly people in the city and now the team behind the project are looking for more volunteers to help them expand the number of care homes they visit.

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Cycling Without Age pilot Jake and passengers (from Grange Crescent Care Home) chatting to people in Endcliffe Park

There are currently around 1,200 Cycling Without Age sites around the world, each with its own motorised trike.

The specialised trike has the space for two passengers at the front and a volunteer known as a ‘pilot' at the back, allowing the care home residents to 'feel the wind in their hair'.

Sheffield's trike - nicknamed Rhubarb following an online vote - is the brainchild of Clare Rishbeth, a landscape architecture lecturer at the University of Sheffield, who has researched the benefits the outdoors can have on people’s mood.

She said: "Though we have only been going a few months we have a great bunch of committed volunteers. We all enjoy being out and about riding Rhubarb the tri-bike through the beautiful Sheffield parks, and it's be fun getting to know some of our regular passengers.

"Currently we do weekly rides from three different care homes but we would love to double this. Increasing the number of volunteer pilots will help us take more passengers out and about."

The team are now on the look out for volunteers to help support more passengers and offer them an 'hour or two of cheerful company'.

"You need to be a confident cyclist, but not a super sporty one, as the bike has a powerful electric motor," Ms. Rishbeth added.

Volunteering works on a sign-up basis, with pilots expected to volunteer every two to three weeks.

Those interested will be provided with initial training, along with a DBS check and risk assessment, insurance and guidelines for working with elderly people, guidance on route planning and an introduction to care homes.

For more information or to sign up visit the Cycling Without Age Sheffield Facebook page here or email: [email protected]