National Lottery Community Grant Award

Very excited to be able to blog this at last! Thanks to all involved in launching our Rides in the Park programme and huge thanks to National Lottery players and the National Lottery Community Fund!

Leicester Wheels for All has been awarded £9,690 to run its programme of Rides in the Park for older people and people with different needs. The award, to be officially announced by the National Lottery on 3 September 2019, will enable the registered charity to run public events in Abbey Park. The research basis for providing the service is well proven. “Our events are there to provide older people and people with different needs the chance to exercise on adapted cycles thereby boosting their health and wellbeing.”

This image provided by Vista was taken at the first “proof of concept” event in May 2019.

The next event is on 13th September 2019 beginning at 10 o’clock in Abbey Park Oval, Leicester.

Leicester Wheels for All has received an award from the National Lottery Community Fund for its Ride in the Park programme.

Our posts on Social Media are below. Please like, share and retweet.

If you’d like to see more information about Leicester Wheels for All you can see our blogs at this link :-

Recruiting trustees…

This article is about recruiting trustees for our charity. Applications are invited from anyone interested in taking up the role of a Leicester Wheels for All trustee and the closing date is 12:00 January 2nd 2020. For full details please read on.

On 1st July we wrote about our exciting expansion plans :-

and our policy of refreshing our trustee body. If you would like to be considered please submit a brief personal statement describing why you are applying. Send it to saying why you would like to be considered for the role. The closing date is Thursday, January 2nd 2020 at 12:00.

There are many reasons for becoming a trustee. It is a fulfilling role that comes with responsibility. See this link to a well-known recruitment agency, TPP, that explains something about what is involved.

If you have any questions please write to us or contact any of our three current trustees who will be pleased to respond. If you would like to know more about becoming a trustee there is also lots of guidance on the Charity Commission Website including the following link to “The Essential Trustee”.

If you want to know more about us – please see our video.
What we do. Find out about Leicester Wheels for All

One of our client organisations speaks…

Freedom Support Training Academy is a training organisation for young people and adults with learning disabilities and additional support needs. Read on for their piece about their association with Leicester Wheels for All!

Freedom Support have attended every session of Wheels For All, since we first became aware of it. It quickly became one of our most popular activities.

At Freedom, we have a varied group of Market Harborough clients with Learning disabilities, Physical Disabilities and Mental Health needs. Wheels For All caters for every individual no matter what support they may need. And the staff love it too!

As a support worker, there is nothing more important than seeing a client happy, and wheels for all achieves this every time. I cannot stress how important events like this are for our clients and the community. Myself, the team and the clients would love to attend this event on a more regular basis. Every time we go, the group gets larger and even members of the public stop to have a go, or just watch the sheer enjoyment our clients are having.

Hayley – of Freedom Support Training Academy

I would like to thank Peter Simmonds and his wonderful team for making this event possible and contributing to the wellbeing of Freedom Support clients (and staff!).

What our clients said…
Comments from Freedom Support Academy

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:

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

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?  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
  • finance
  • encouraging take up of healthy exercise
  • communications
  • NHS and Social Care liaison including social prescribing
  • 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

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.


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.

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.
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

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

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

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:

What we do – About Leicester Wheels for All