Building Confidence Through Cycling

Capital of Cycling are a Bradford-based project that use cycling to bring communities together and encourage participation in healthy recreation. GiveBradford funding allowed them to organise more cycling groups that helped to build beneficiary confidence.

 

  • In a nutshell, could you tell us what your Leeds Community Foundation funded project involves?

We organised cycling ride planning, training and equipment provision for a programme of inclusive, confidence building bike rides and activities. The participants were recruited through referrals from partners such as refugee charities, disability charities and local social housing projects. Sessions were also be individually tailored for those with acute needs

Through cycling we aimed first to build confidence: beginning as an adult, getting back on a bike, short, supportive group rides to local amenities.

Once they became more confident we encouraged cyclists to challenge themselves through a number of milestone activities such as cycling beyond the local park, staying safe, cycling in small groups and planning and leading a ride.

 

  • Why is this kind of support so vital, what’s the need and what might be the situation if the support you offer didn’t exist?

Some of our users have acute needs, which include being in transport poverty (not being able to afford bus fare etc). Sometimes individuals are confined to one estate or even tower block area for most of the time. This leads to social isolation and a reduction of opportunities of all kinds, including access to employment and education.

Local communities have limited resources to encourage fruitful integration of newly arrived asylum seekers and refugees and an integrated bike ride is a really simple way to overcome barriers.

 

  • Could you share a rewarding moment you’ve had so far? Is there a particular story you could share from a beneficiary you’ve helped?

Sarah (name changed) accessed the group from early in the summer 2019. To start with Sarah was not comfortable with the bikes, she joined in the stretching exercises at the beginning and was happy to talk to the workers and walk in the park while the group was cycling. Gradually after attending the sessions on a weekly basis, Sarah eventually decided to try out a bike and was successfully taught how to ride a bike.  Sarah continued to attend all the cycling sessions, reporting that it was a ‘fantastic feeling of freedom’ and ‘made her feel strong’.

 

  • What made you apply for a Foundation grant, what difference has the funding from the Foundation made

We’re a small, recently established charity without a lot of resources.  Relatively small grants like this one are really useful and they help us progress our charitable objectives which involve helping people in the communities on which we’re based.

In addition to helping the beneficiaries and also involving them in this process, we’re also able to offer more resource to staff and support the ongoing development of the charity through the presence of sessional workers and so on that are involved with the funded project.