Bike scheme for elderly rolled out across Scotland.
Older people across Scotland will be able to stay active and socialise through an innovative cycling scheme being rolled out nationally.
Following a successful pilot scheme in Falkirk, the Scottish Government is providing £300,000 to set up the Cycling Without Age (CWA) project across the country. Originating in Denmark, CWA encourages volunteers to take older people for bike rides, using specially designed ‘trishaws’. It aims to help socially isolated older people meet others and be physically active.
In the first phase of the roll-out during 2018/19, CWA will be implemented in five more local authority areas, and partnerships for further projects agreed in eight others.
Public Health and Sport Minister Aileen Campbell announced the funding during a visit to Cycling Without Age Scotland at the Kelpies.
Ms Campbell said:
“Cycling Without Age started with the simple aim of helping older people feel the wind in their hair again. Through the committed action of a few volunteers, the project was brought to Scotland and has made a positive difference to many people’s lives.
“Through this funding, Cycling Without Scotland will work with communities and partners to roll the project out across Scotland in the areas and settings where it will have the most impact. We know that physical activity and regular social interaction have huge benefits for both mental and physical well-being and help people in Scotland live longer, healthier lives.”
Cycling Without Age Scotland Executive Officer Christine Bell said:
“We are delighted the Scottish Government is supporting the need in communities across Scotland for this simple yet powerful initiative. In a society with a growing number of elderly people living in care or alone at home, this project addresses many social and wellbeing concerns. The act of two passengers sharing a trishaw, along with the volunteer pilots, creates new relationships and friendships, which has proven to be one of the most valuable aspects of this project, elderly people are brought back into community life, stories are shared and health, and wellbeing improves for everyone involved.”
The Cycling Without Age project (CWA) was founded in Copenhagen in 2012 and is now in 37 countries. The project was brought to Scotland in 2016 by the Communities Along the Carron Association (CATCA), a Falkirk community group. In 2016 the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Fund awarded CATCA £10,000 to explore the potential impact the project could have in Scotland.
The five local authority areas for rollout in 2018/19 are East Lothian, Falkirk, Highlands and Islands, Perth and Kinross, and the Scottish Borders. Further CWA projects are also due to live soon in Fife, South Ayrshire and West Lothian.
In 2018/19, CWA will work with Heriot Watt University to evaluate of the project, looking at the mental and physical health and wellbeing benefits, and impact on active travel behaviour, satisfaction with cycling infrastructure, and effects on mood, anxiety, social engagement and loneliness and isolation.
The Scottish Government funding is being split between the Health and Transport budgets, reflecting the potential impact of CWA on a range of policy areas, including health and wellbeing, active travel, volunteering, older people and social isolation.