A cycling project has been set up in Sheffield aimed to tackle loneliness among older people living in care homes and give them access to the outdoors.
Cycling without Age Sheffield is an intergenerational loneliness project set up to support the access to nature for care home residents, many of whom spend most of their time indoors.
The initiative is already operating successfully in about 15 UK towns and cities, and around 40 countries globally.
Now, after months of fundraising, volunteers have successfully raised enough to bring the project to Sheffield and have put in the order for a specially adapted, three-wheeled e-bike called a trishaw.
The trishaw has space for two passengers at the front, and requires a ‘pilot’ to sit behind and pedal, allowing the care home residents to ‘feel the wind in their hair’.
Clare Rishbeth, a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, has been instrumental in bringing the project to Sheffield.
After discovering Cycling Without Age on Twitter, and seeing the project featured on BBC’s Amazing Humans, she decided to attend a roadshow in February, hosted by CWA founder Ole Kassow.
Clare, group lead of CWA Sheffield, said: “I currently have relatives in care homes, or who are coming to the age where they might be in a care home. They offer a very caring but sometimes sealed environment.
“They sometimes miss that sensory quality of nature and need the chance to experience seasons and environment.
“After taking my 92-year-old aunt for a spin on one of these bikes and seeing her smile and wave to everyone I knew we had to bring this to Sheffield.”.
With the help of Peter Long, of Ethel Community Barge – who have also run projects for care home residents – they began getting the word to those in the city, and Clare travelled to Lichfield with her aunt to have a go on a trial bike.
Each trip from the care home will take two passengers out for a ride around quiet roads and local parks, giving them the chance to notice the seasons, see what has changed and share memories.
The group won £1,000 at Sheffield Soup in October, gathered various other donations, and after a £9,500 grant from The Big Lottery Fund are expecting to receive their trishaw in February.
They will be based at Nuffield Health Centre, near to Porter Brook, offering the chance for care homes located in Sharrow, Nether Edge and Broomhall.
They will also be collaborating with St Mary's Church, on Bramall Lane, Recycle Bikes and Shipshape Health and Wellbeing Centre.
All the cycle ‘pilots’ will be volunteers, will have undergone relevant checks and will be committed to slow, safe cycling and chatting with their passengers.
An information and welcome evening will be held on Thursday January 24.
To keep up to date for a venue announcement follow @CWA_Sheffield or visit the Facebook page.
Anyone interested in volunteering, or who is connected in any way to care homes, either as a member of staff, resident or relative of resident can also contact: email@example.com
For more information on CWA, visit the UK website here.