Cycling Without Age – Stockton on Tees Chapter

Published by Alison Watson-Shields on

Hand In Hand Activities CIC is excited to announce that our application to establish a Cycling Without Age Chapter in Stockton on Tees has been accepted and work is now underway to raise the £7,000 needed to purchase the first of our fleet of trishaws.

On Monday 5th February we welcomed Cycling Without Age founder, Ole Kassow, to John Whitehead Park in Billingham to offer attendees of Young At Heart ULO’s Billingham group the opportunity to experience the trishaw first hand.

The weather was definitely against us for the session, as the trishaw pilots took passengers around the park in the cold, snowy conditions, but the weather certainly didn’t stop those experiencing the trishaw from smiling, sharing stories and singing.

Hand In Hand Activities CIC’s Managing Director, Alison Watson-Shields took to the riding seat to pedal two new members of Young At Heart ULO around the Park. Alison isn’t ashamed to admit that riding a push bike isn’t something that she is confident doing – falling off is however a bit of a hobby. Yet, Alison was quickly bitten by the ‘Pilot’ bug and enjoyed cycling around the park singing “She’ll be coming around the mountain” with her two enthusiastic passengers!

Alison said, “I first learnt of the Cycling Without Age initiative when a Scottish Chapter was featured on BBC Three’s “Amazing Humans” and quickly saw the potential of the project in tackling social isolation in residents of Stockton on Tees.”

Having previously worked on a range of projects that have helped to tackle social isolation in older people, those living with long term health conditions, people living with dementia and those who take on a caring role, Alison knew that this project could help a wide range of local residents, including those living in care homes, to access the local community and offer ‘wind in their hair’ experiences that can be shared with loved ones, care staff, volunteers and friends.

“Once I had overcome my initial nerves of riding a bike, albeit with permanent stabilisers, and carrying two passengers I had an absolute blast! Once we were in the open park, one passenger started to sing ‘She’ll be coming round the mountain’, so I joined in. We chatted about the park generally and about the comfort of the ride in the front of the trishaw. We chatted to other users of the park, including 2 dog owners who were exercising their dogs, and 2 young people who had visited the town centre for shopping. Normally, the group would remain the Community Hub but having the trishaw enabled them to see the park in full and to socialise with people who they wouldn’t normally get to meet. It was such an amazing experience and I look forward to sharing it with many more people in the foreseeable future.”

To bring this brilliant initiative to Stockton on Tees we are working hard to raise £7,000 to purchase our first trishaw. We have a Crowdfunder campaign that is live until February 19th, and are looking to engage with local residents and businesses to help raise funds, as we have corporate sponsorship packages available.

If you would like to discuss sponsorship, or make a donation via other means, please contact Alison on 07590535448 or email awatson@handinhandcare.co.uk

Keep your eyes peeled for updates of the trishaw experience from those who piloted the trishaw and those who experienced the trishaw from the passenger seat!


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