It is National Bike Week and the Gloucestershire charity Lilian Faithfull Care have been out celebrating their cycling project.
Cycle rides and care homes are not two things which you would naturally associate together, but thanks to a fantastic trishaw, residents and day guests at the charity Lilian Faithfull Care are able to continue to enjoy all the fun and freedom of cycling.
The Gloucestershire charity has a team of volunteers and staff who pedal the specially adapted trishaw in Cheltenham along the traffic-free Honeybourne Line as well as around Montpellier Park.
It has a comfortable seat (with seat belts) for two passengers, so residents and day guests can enjoy the ride alongside a friend, carer or family member.
“This project makes such a tangible difference to the lives of our residents and day guests. It is not just the wonderful experience of the cycle ride; but also the friendships and conversations it starts.” explains Suzanne Booker, Director of Care at Lilian Faithfull Care.
Martin DeGroodt, Physiotherapist at one of the residential care homes, Faithfull House adds; “It always gives people a real boost. It is stimulating out in the fresh air and there is always a lot of interaction with other people when we are out riding.”
The residents and day guests give their verdicts;
“Thank you so much – you can do that anytime you like!” said Lettie from Faithfull House
“It was enjoyable, an old man of 93 with two young ladies, it beats everything doesn’t it!” quipped John from Bay Tree Court.
“I felt like the Queen! It was wonderful! I saw bits of Cheltenham I’ve never seen before!” commented Olive from Astell House.
Last week it was the first time on the trishaw for Doreen and Ernie Rowland. This was particularly special as they first met through cycling in 1951 and earlier in the year they celebrated their 71st Wedding Anniversary at Faithfull House! Doreen explains; “We built our own bicycles, as that’s what you did back then, we bought the frame and the wheels and built it up.”
The adult day care hub, the Secret Garden Hub in Cheltenham, also regularly invite day guests out for a cycle ride. “It’s always a talking point – something out of the ordinary and it’s fantastic for our guests well-being.” explains Mark Norris, Hub manager . Mike Clayton, a regular guest explains; “My visits to the Secret Garden are the highlight of my week. I’m very excited to go on the bike, I’m quite comfy and raring to go!”
As the only Trishaw in the county, the charity offers anyone in their homes and day care hubs the opportunity to enjoy a cycle ride; those not adjacent to the safe cycle routes are transported across to the start points. An appropriately trained member of staff is on each trip, who is either riding the trishaw or sharing the ride with the resident or guests. One member of staff commented; “It is such a positive experience and it prompts all sorts of conversations and memories.. I always come back from a ride having smiled the whole time!”
The project is affiliated with ‘Cycling without Age’, a social enterprise which has helped set up similar projects across Europe. The project gets fantastic support from Cheltenham Borough Council who give access to the cycle routes at key points. Thanks also go to local company Signal who initiated the project, purchased the specialised ‘trishaw’ and subsequently donated it to Lilian Faithfull Care.
If you see the Lilian Faithfull Care Trishaw out and about in Cheltenham, be sure to give them a wave!