Cycling might seem like an impossible dream to some people with disabilities.
But that’s being challenged by a local charity which loans out specially adapted bikes and now offers a discounted rate thanks to a successful funding bid.
Sheffield Cycling for All, which is part of Disability Sheffield, runs every Thursday from Hillsborough Park. The charity has just received an extra £46,000 through HealthRich and is now able to loan bikes at just £3 per session. The funding will also allow the group to run weekly sessions on another day and is looking for volunteers to help with this.
One of its organisers, Caroline Waugh from Totley, said:
“Having brain damage, epilepsy, impaired vision, broken limbs, lymphoedemia and cancer didn’t stop my passion for cycling, which is why I helped to set up Sheffield Cycling 4 All.
“It’s so important to be energised and feel the fresh air on your face. And what we do here is help people do the best they can.
“We’re delighted to have the extra funding as it means we can get more people on our bikes and hire them out at a discounted rate. One of our customers, a 79 year old woman, told me she takes 12 tablets a day for her health but nothing makes her feel better than cycling around the park with us.
“I wouldn’t like to say we can do everything but we’ve never had a disability we’ve not been able to cater for. We want more people to be able to use our bikes and are delighted that we can set up extra sessions. We’re now looking for more volunteers and even more support for our organisation.”
Sheffield City Council has helped support Sheffield Cycling 4 All through its ‘ward funding’ pot which is used to provide small grants to local community projects.
Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Community Services at Sheffield City Council, said:
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to support Sheffield Cycling 4 All with a small grant from the Hillsborough ward pot which is being used for bike shelters, maintenance and equipment. They’re a great organisation helping people do things they might otherwise not be able to do, and just one of the many groups who help make our communities strong.”
Councillor Cate McDonald, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, added:
“This charity is opening up opportunities for people with disabilities and I wholeheartedly applaud its work.
“Sheffield is hosting the Special Olympics for people with learning disabilities this year and we want people to know that we’re an inclusive city and have something for everyone. Sheffield Cycling 4 All is a real part of this and I want to congratulate all the staff and volunteers for everything they do to help people enjoy cycling.”
Sheffield Cycling 4 All runs from Hillsborough Park on a Thursday from 10am-3pm between March and October, with reduced hours during the winter. People can turn up and borrow one of 17 bikes, suitable for people with different needs including wheelchair users and complex learning disabilities. Sessions can also be organised for disability specific groups.
Last year saw the number of people attending increase from an average of 18 to 28 each session. The charity has been running for six years, with bikes funded by Cycling UK, and is part of Disability Sheffield. Visit www.disabilitysheffield.org.uk/sheffield-cycling-4-all for more information.
Visit theoutdoorcity.co.uk/outdoor-city-for-all/ for information about outdoor leisure opportunities for disabled people in and around Sheffield, including wheelchair accessible routes and walking groups.