A new home for Marlow Wheels for All
A nationally acclaimed cycling project which encourages cycling for all will move in to its new home at the Little Marlow athletics complex on Saturday 16 March, three years after it launched at the Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.
Wheels for All is a specifically designed programme that focuses on engaging children and adults with disabilities and differing needs in a quality cycling activity. Equipped with specially adapted bikes and led by a team of fully trained staff and volunteers, the programme welcomes individuals, groups and families to get involved, have some fun and discover the benefits that cycling has to offer. The diverse fleet of cycles that Wheels for All offer at each of its sessions up and down the country is hugely diverse, with something to suit everyone’s needs and requirements. The staff and volunteers who make it all happen take a positive approach with a can-do attitude, encouraging all those who attend to believe that anything is possible.
‘’There is a very positive and inclusive atmosphere at these sessions that is rarely found elsewhere. The mixture of volunteers, cycling enthusiasts and so on means there’s a very knowledgeable resource on hand, that genuinely has a passion for providing this sort of service,’’ explains a parent whose autistic child benefits from the Marlow based programme.
Elliot who has complex learning difficulties is also a keen member of Marlow Wheels for All. His mother explains how the programme has made a positive impact on her son: ‘‘Elliot has clearly benefitted from the confidence and self-esteem that these cycling sessions have given him, as well as the sense of freedom, independence from others and his own control over his immediate environment. He really looks forward to the sessions and I’m sure he gets a great sense of accomplishment, as well as a very good physical workout – he doesn’t stop cycling from the moment we get there until we have to leave.”
Wheels for All is having a profound impact on people’s lives, with it being one of the only charities that not only caters for the whole family, allowing everyone who attend the sessions to take part, but also providing that valuable network, support and sense of community that is so vital in today’s society. The Charity is now on a mission to raise awareness and encourage cyclists from clubs, groups and other organisations from grass-roots sports right through to professional level to get involved and help change people’s lives for the better by supporting the Wheels for All programme.
Ian Tierney, Charity Director [Cycling Projects] explains: “It’s great to see the way this project is looking to develop new dedicated sessions and to offer more people the opportunity to get involved. The support for the project from the local cycling community has been outstanding, the Marlow Riders have generously donated over £10,000 from their annual Red Kite Sportive and the Saddle Safari bike shop have even raffled a bike and raised over £3,000 for the charity, which has all helped us buy more adapted cycles and train new volunteers to help run the sessions.”
“The evidence is clear every time we run a cycling session, cycling really can improve the health and well-being for those with differing needs. We need to motivate and educate people about what is achievable on a bike, focusing on ability and not disability,” said James Cavalier, Relationship Director at Active in the Community CIC who, along with site managers Serco, has been instrumental in helping the charity develop the project.
James continues, “the sheer joy and freedom the participants experience whilst enjoying that sense of freedom, is something you won’t see anywhere elsewhere. This positive feeling is also replicated in the volunteers and workers who assist our cyclists in their rehabilitation and personal development and I feel very privileged to play a part in that.”
The Marlow Wheels for All project has a great track record in delivering fun, safe cycling sessions and a good team of trained volunteers and staff who support each session. Currently all sessions are subsidised by donations with additional funds going towards repairs and maintaining the large fleet of bikes. There is a growing demand from various local adult support groups, children and schools / colleges for a greater variety of sessions. Recruitment and training of new volunteers is essential to maintain the proposed growth of the project and the charity is very keen to hear from anyone who thinks they could get involved. The volunteers work hard to help keep the wheels going around and around at the weekly cycling sessions and they truly make the difference because they want to inspire others to cycle.
Sessions cost £3 and run from midday to 2.30pm.
If you’d like to get involved with the Marlow Wheels for All, please visit www.cycling.org.uk.