04th December 2023
CYCALL participants enjoying a ride on the adapted bikes
Accessible cycling - how green exercise is the 'magic combination'
It has been a busy and exciting year for CYCALL in Worthing.
The inclusive cycling project, based at Brooklands, was named as one of Worthing Mayor’s Charity of the Year for 2023/24.
Plus, their focus this year has been engaging with those who have mental health conditions, working alongside Mind and attending numerous events.
“We have done a lot this year,” laughs Martine Walters, founder and trustee of CYCALL.
“Our focus in 2023 has been people with mental health conditions and how green exercise is the magic combination of exercising and being outdoors.
“We have had just under 2,500 visitors in 2023, which is not bad considering we are volunteer-led.”
The project provides adapted bicycles for disabled adults and children or anyone with a health issue, which prevents them from accessing cycling.
The inclusive sessions are not just about being active, but are a valuable opportunity for meaningful social interaction.
This year saw two CYCALL members take part in a sponsored marathon, doing half a marathon each on hand propelled bikes.
CYCALL have run an outdoor dementia friends session, hosted Cycling UK’s big bike revival maintenance session for people to get their bikes looked over, and took part in the Dementia Action Day in Worthing town centre.
CYCALL was involved in Worthing mental health awareness week, where they took some bikes and sensory equipment, and took part in wellbeing rides along the seafront.
“When you put it all together it is like ‘oh my gosh how have we done all that’,” says Martine.
CYCALL is run by a dedicated team of trustees, trained session workers, first aiders and volunteers and has an inclusive volunteer and workforce policy.
Martine said: “I am a wheelchair user and many of our team have neuro divergence.
“That is an important part, that we are user-led.
“Our trustees also have lived experience of disabilities, which is very important for us.”
Already, 2024 is set to be a jam packed year for CYCALL.
Now that Brooklands car park has re-opened, and there are changing places toilets and a cafe, it makes it easier for CYCALL to run events, with a big fundraising day earmarked for Saturday, May 18, 2024.
And the focus for the new year is working with people with long-term health conditions, such as MS, diabetes and arthritis.
“We want to extend our work with social prescribers,” explains Martine.
“Our offer is quite holistic. It is not just you come out and go on a bike and go home.
“We take you under our wing. A lot of people who come to our sessions end up volunteering with us.
“If somebody does come to a session they become part of the family. We can support them and they know they have got that place they can visit.”
Another area Martine is keen to develop is what they can offer for the whole family.
“It is really difficult to find something for disabled children to do with their siblings or other family members. And something we are falling short on is that,” says Martine.
“We often get people coming along with their PAs (personal assistants), but we really want to explore more about siblings coming along and being able to cycle and take part in games alongside their other family members. It is one of our targets for next year.”
CYCALL relies on the generosity of volunteers who give their time and expertise freely to help keep CYCALL sessions running.
If you are interested in volunteering or help with maintaining the fleet of bikes, please call Martine on 07784918122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org