Lindsey’s story – and a crowdfunding appeal

Lindsey is a regular cycle leader at our “Ride in the Park” events. She pilots one of the two rickshaws that we take for older people and people with different needs to ride around the circuit.

Lindsey piloting the rickshaw at Cruyff Court on Midsummer’s Day.

The participants are what this project is all about. Before Leicester Wheels for All’s plans took shape this summer I knew that this is what I wanted to do, give an older person who can’t get about too well the chance to relive their former cycling days.

Lindsey Ball

Dennis is 96. He came first to Leicester Wheels for All’s Midsummer Ride in the Park which was held at Cruyff Court, St Matthews. Ever since that day, Dennis’s daughter tells us, he has talked constantly about how much he enjoyed it and wanting to do it again. Here is a shot of him riding with our session leader, Jamshed, running along-side giving directions to the rider who has low-vision. One of the unexpected benefits of running the event at Cryuff Court was that the blue running track acts as a perfect “direction guide” for many people with low-vision.

“Can you believe that we’ve given a 96-year-old man like Dennis something that he probably never dreamed would happen. And what a great experience it must’ve been yesterday for his daughter to ride next to him. Absolutely unbelievable when you think about it. I’m really chuffed!”

I also particularly enjoyed taking an elderly blind lady around the Oval on my rickshaw and describing everything that we were passing, it was lovely to be able to do this and it made me appreciate just how great it was to be able ride a bike in the Park. 

Lindsey Ball
This is the “brand” shot from LWFA’s first Ride in the Park back in May.

As I was piloting the rickshaw on Friday everyone remarked about Rides in the Park being such a fantastic idea and the carers were loving the event just as much as their clients. The sense of wellbeing was amazing, with everyone laughing and smiling as they all took turns to ride the bikes that suited them most. There was a real community spirit with different groups mixing and interacting with each other.

Lindsey Ball
96 years old Dennis back in the saddle after 30 years at Ride-in-the-Park.

Would you like to help make it possible for us to provide more Ride in the Park sessions and provide more cycles for people with different needs? Well, now you can! Head over to our crowd-funding link:

https://www.spacehive.com/rides-in-the-park

If you’d like to know more about what we do – check out our video (above) or contact us on leicesterwfa@gmail.com

Time to scale up

Leicester Wheels for All is looking to the future.

At the next AGM the LWFA Trustees will have been in office for four years. We have developed the organisation up to the point at which we put on 100 events each year for our participants. We are good at partnership working and service management. We have a core of great session leaders and volunteers. Why then do we need to review our governance structure?

We need to scale up our organisation so that we begin to meet the unmet need for exercise for people with different needs. Our target audience is anyone with the need to ride adapted cycles for health and wellbeing. Business gurus say that scaling up a service is more than just doing more of the same.

We invite our stakeholder organisations to be involved in the process. Tell us what we should do to prepare our organisation for the changes needed? Here is our open letter to all of our client organisations, funders, carers of our participants and of course participants themselves.

Dear Stakeholder
This letter is all about our organisation and we would appreciate your involvement and guidance.  We want to prepare for increasing the services to our participants and client organisations.

We are on course for delivering around 100 events a year.  We are good at partnership working and service management.  We have a great team of people delivering our services. We have a good fleet of adapted cycles.  But this is not the time to rest on our laurels.   Most of our target participants and customer organisations have unmet needs and we want to continue developing so that we can begin to address more of them.

When we started we needed a core team with a service delivery focus.  We now need to expand and develop our public benefit services by strengthening all areas beyond our core competencies
So our question is – how should we do this?  Adding to and refreshing our trustees is a good place to start.  We need trustees who bring other skills to the organisation beyond what we have achieved by providing high-quality safe events for our participants.  If you have any ideas, or you would like to become a trustee in one of the areas listed below, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

  • strategy
  • customer services
  • encouraging take up of healthy exercise
  • communications
  • NHS and Social Care liaison
  • fleet management
  • other

The next committee meeting due in August will consider how best to prepare LWFA for the next stage in its development.

Please reply to leicesterwfa@gmail.com

Our morning with Cycling for Cities Changing Diabetes

On 16 June 2019 we took part in Team Novo Nordisk”s Cycling for Cities Changing Diabetes Ride. The start was in Leicester’s Town Hall Square with great support from local cycling organisations. Leicester Wheels for All was there supporting the event and the aims of Cities Changing Diabetes.

Or – Jake’s story.

We publicise our open events so that as many of our participants and the wider public can join in. Not everyone can join but we usually have a good turnout. For the Grand Départ, starting at 09:00 we had a lot of interest at first but then, as often happens, people found that they weren’t able to come. Some of our participants have care and support needs which means that getting up and out for a nine o’clock start in the middle of town is challenging. One of the things we have learned is that the ideal time for people in care homes or at home with personal assistance is usually in the morning between 10 and 12 o’clock.

One of our participants who has low vision caused by retinitus pigmentosa and who lives in Nottingham said, “I’m coming.”

“Great Jake, see you there at nine o’clock.”

We heard some more over the next week about bus connections and Jake was working out the best way to Leicester on a Sunday morning. Bus and train services are not very frequent on Sundays. We weren’t sure whether he could make it for the Novo Nordisk send-off.

clock

8:45 and no sign of Jake. “He couldn’t make the connections work” we said. Then – white stick in hand – he appeared. “Get the tandem ready, Jake’s here! Great to see you, Jake. What time did you set off?”

“Five forty,” he said.

His journey needed three buses to get to Leicester St Margarets Bus Station and the route was via East Midlands Airport. What a journey to get to us for the Grand Départ“. It is clear how determined he was to get to the event and to show just how single-minded he is, he said, “I want to ride on the recumbent”.

“We’re going on the road, Jake – you can be stoker on the Dawes Tandem.”

“I want to go on the recumbent – I rode one like it at Sheffield Athletics track last week.”

Head full of risk assessments and road riding etiquette our session leaders started to reason with him. This is the public highway, Jake, let’s stick to the tandem for now.”

The Dawes Tandem, seen here outside Vista’s New Wycliffe Home in Rushey Mead.

Long story short – Jake was single-minded and set on riding the recumbent. We quickly formed a plan where Jake could ride in a shield of Leicester Women’s Velo members and Ride Leaders, for the first stage of the ride to Abbey Park. Jake didn’t put a foot wrong and everyone enjoyed it.

Our group at Abbey Park. Jake on the red recumbent centre front.
A view of Retinitis Pigmentosa – this is Jake’s condition.

More about urban diabetes

The Team Novo Nordisk Ride is to raise awareness of rising levels of diabetes, particularly in cities. Every member of the professional cycling team has Diabetes Type 1.

By 2045, an astounding 736 million people could be living with diabetes. Given the devastating human and economic cost that diabetes and its complications have on individuals, families and communities, this growth is simply unsustainable2.


Urban diabetes demands new ways of 
looking at old problems

Professor David Napier of University College London understands better than most how the problem of diabetes keeps growing, despite our understanding of the biology and genetics of the disease.

In cities like London, long commutes, unhealthy diets, desk jobs and lack of exercise create a perfect storm of diabetes risk factors. Find out why Professor Napier believes a multi-disciplinary approach founded on new forms of research and community action is the only way to conquer urban diabetes.

We must change the trajectory of the rise in diabetes – and that means setting a bold ambition that no more than 1 in 10 adults globally has the disease.

To achieve this will require ambitious action on the biggest modifiable risk factor for diabetes – obesity: we must reduce obesity by 25% globally between now and 2045 . If we do that, we will bend the curve on the huge rise in diabetes prevalence, and prevent an extra 111 million people developing the disease.

Professor David Napier on reducing urban diabetes.

Midsummer Day “Ride in the Park”!

Cruyff Court – St Matthews 10:00 – 12:00

Leicester Wheels for All is running a special event on Midsummer Day 21st June. It is aimed at older people who want to get active through cycling and people of any age with different needs. Come on down and have a go!

Picture of Cryuff Court St Matthews
Cruyff Court St Matthews

Cruyff Court is a superb facility. It is used mostly by younger people. The Ride in the Park event is designed to enable older people and people of all ages with different needs to participate in the great surroundings of the Court.

Peter Simmonds Chair – Leicester Wheels for All

Cryuff Court is located in Willow Street, Leicester, LE1 2HR.

Rides in the Park – Proof of Concept

Our Rides in the Park initiative will see more of this kind of thing!

Leicester Wheels for All published its Proof of Concept report today. The prototype Ride in the Park was held on Friday 3 May 2019 in Abbey Park, Leicester.

Our Proof of Concept Report

The report can be seen at this link (opens a new window)

The next stage of our Rides in the Park project is to make it happen regularly. We have started to prepare our approach to funders and open a crowd funding portal for public subscription.


If you would like to see a report of our prototype Rides in the Park event on 3 May – see below:

If you would like to donate to help us achieve our vision of regular Rides in the Park for older people and people with different needs please click the button below.

https://vimeo.com/304803375
What we do. Find out about Leicester Wheels for All

Rides in the Park

Leicester Wheels for All put on their first “Rides in the Park” event today. Vista applied for funding from Leicester City Council’s Cycle City Workshop to set up a “Proof of Concept” event.

Vista and Leicester Wheels for All Banners

Promoting activity is the NHS’s main strategy for better health, wellbeing and life expectancy. This is more challenging for people who live with different needs. There is little opportunity to take up an activity like cycling and this was the basis of the grant from Leicester’s Cycle City workshop.

The Proof of Concept event today will help us to learn the lessons that will enable us to offer high-quality services for people who don’t otherwise get the chance to cycle in great surroundings like Leicester’s Abbey Park.

The Proof of Concept idea is to demonstrate in principle some concept or theory that has practical potential. Our joint project will help Vista and Leicester Wheels for All to address the key questions.

  • How would the idea work?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • What support is needed to make it happen?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Is it practicable?
  • How can it be sustained?
  • What about the logistics involved?
  • Did our prototype work?
  • What lessons did we learn?
  • How frequently should we run our new “Rides in the Park?”
  • Do we have the resources to run the event every week? (Or, if not, how often could we offer the service?)
  • How can we fund it?

These are all questions that we are now sifting with our teams to find out if the prototype worked and is capable of regular repeats.


For more information about the Cycle City Challenge Workshop see this link

Leicester Wheels for All – What we do.

If you would like to know more about the research justification for putting on this event please see the following links:-

And click on this link to see details of recent international research consensus

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2019/05/02/bjsports-2018-100451

We have produced a project report which is available to all. If you would like a copy please email us.

Corporate events

If you would like to order a one-hour event for your company team day (or any other purpose) please get in touch with us. For every Corporate Day that we do we will provide at least one “Ride in the Park” event for a care home or social care centre of your choice. It depends how much you would like to donate.

Rides in the Park are events for care-home residents and social care service users in the City of Leicester.  If you would like us to provide a Ride in the Park in any other area of the country we are happy to consider it depending on the logistics involved. We have proven the concept and tested the idea with our pilot partner, Vista, the low vision charity. 

The wheelchair platform in action with Linda piloting.

Contact us on leicesterwfa@gmail.com for further information.

What we do. Find out about Leicester Wheels for All

Return to Homepage for Leicester Wheels for all http://leicesterwfa.org

Grand Départ 2019 Leicester

Cycle for Cities Changing Diabetes Ride

We are proud to be associated with this fabulous event. The peloton leaves Leicester on 16th June 2019 on the Cycle for Cities Changing Diabetes. If you would like to take part and need access to an adapted cycle, tandem or cycle taxi please get in touch with us. The Leicester Diabetes Centre applied for funds for Leicester Wheels for All to be able to support the event with their all-inclusive fleet of adapted cycles.

Details of the Grand Départ from Leicester

Rick Wells-Cole, LWFA Trustee and member of Leicester Western Park Freeriders said

We are really pleased to hook up with Team Novo Nordisk. This ride, from Leicester to Olympic Park, is to promote healthy activity in support of the Cities Changing Diabetes strategy for reducing urban illness. Many local cycling clubs are coming in to support this great initiative. Leicester has areas with high prevalence of diabetes and the project will save lives ans improve the quality of life for our people.


Last year we supported World Diabetes Day (November 13th) see our blog below.

Broccoli on the NHS?

Mental Health Today recently wrote about Social Prescribing and Socialisation as a solution to loneliness and poor mental health. Our focus is mainly around the potential for Social Prescribing to help achieve population health gain through increased activity.

Leicester Wheels for All is following closely the move towards Social Prescribing as a way of referring patients to community activities and voluntary services. NHS England estimates that 60% of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have commissioned some form of social prescribing scheme. CCGs tend to commission schemes based upon a core model in which link workers connect people to community groups and activities based upon individual needs.

NHS England says

There is emerging evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes for people, such as improved quality of life and emotional wellbeing.

Though there is a need for more robust and systematic evidence on the effectiveness of social prescribing, social prescribing schemes may lead to a reduction in the use of NHS services, including GP attendance. 59% of GPs think social prescribing can help reduce their workload.

It is widely accepted that more research needs to be done on social prescribing, but preliminary studies have encouraging results. For example, research found an average of 28% fewer GP consultations and 24% fewer attendances at A&E in instances where the social prescribing connector service was working well.

Certainly, our experience at LWFA to date has been one of trying to engage with health commissioners to offer all-ability cycling sessions to help people (particularly less-able people) to increase their activity levels which will support Public Health England’s aspirations for population health gain. We put out public communications asking for social prescribers to contact us and we have yet to hear back.

On the downside – some commentators have yet to see what contribution can be made by the initiative. It has been said that getting a social prescription is like being prescribed broccoli on the NHS. We can certainly see why this might be. Where is the evidence. How are patients followed up. How do we keep the quality high without underpinning it with investment from the system. We agree that more research is needed to pin down the role that it could play and how public benefit organisations like Leicester Wheels for All can contribute.

The theory behind Social Prescribing is illustrated by the graphic below.

Source – NHS England – Social Prescribing https://www.england.nhs.uk/personalisedcare/social-prescribing/

We are in touch with Exeter Medical School where they are working to develop a framework for evaluation. It is to this School that a clinical entrepreneur fellow, Bogdan Chiva Giurca, is attached. Bogdan is the driving force behind the initiative and he was the one who created National Social Prescribing Day which created a lot of positive energy See his video below: –

Professor Clive Ballard, Dean of Exeter Medical School:

“Exeter Medical School is working to evaluate and develop the evidence base for social presecribing to understand use in clinical practice”

We continue to offer to work with commissioners and medical educationalists on this exciting development and will report back later this year. In the meantime, if you have any experience of this exciting new initiative please do get in touch.

Other resources consulted when writing this blog:

https://www4.shu.ac.uk/research/cresr/sites/shu.ac.uk/files/social-economic-impact-rotherham.pdf

https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-prescribing

What we do – About Leicester Wheels for All