Thursday, 31 January 2019
Our Health Revolutions team was delighted to receive a visit from Minister for Mental Health for the Scottish Government, Clare Haughey. Ms Haughey dropped in to a bike maintenance workshop in East Lothian and spoke to some of the participants about how the project is boosting their mental health and overall wellbeing.
Ms Haughey observed a bike maintenance skills session, where participants learned how to repair and replace a brake cable with Cycling UK development officer Abi Wingate.
Health Revolutions, which launched in autumn 2018 and is funded by Transport Scotland, supports people with mental health conditions through cycling activities.
Ms Haughey speaks with Health Revolutions participants
This unique partnership project enables Cycling UK to reach people with severe and long-term mental health conditions, including psychiatric conditions. Although only a few months old, the impact of the project is already being felt.
“It’s been fantastic to see the positive changes in people’s lives through this project,” Abi explains.
“One participant who hadn’t been on a bike in years was so inspired that after a few sessions he went to the local bike shop, bought a bike and rode it all the way home!”
Cycling UK’s Abi Wingate teaching bike maintenance skills
People are signposted to the project through keyworkers and healthcare professionals at the three partner organisations: Stepping Out, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and the Social Bite Village.
People have really enjoyed the sessions and are obviously inspired.
Nicky Fox, Stepping Out Project Manager
This session took place at Stepping Out, a mental health charity based in North Berwick. As well as learning a range of maintenance skills from mending punctures to adjusting gearing, participants have also enjoyed cycling skills sessions and group rides.
These not only build confidence and fitness but also deliver mental health and wellbeing benefits too.
Participants hone their skills
The sessions are designed to be accessible for people with a range of circumstances and they play an important role in creating opportunities for social interaction and decreasing loneliness.
Nicky Fox, Project Manager at Stepping Out commented: “People have really enjoyed the sessions and are obviously inspired. Some have gone from feeling really disabled to confident and comfortable, knowing they are well supported.
“Being outside in nature and getting exercise is great for mental health. The mechanical sessions have also been important – helping people to feel confident in their skills and abilities.”
Suzanne Forup, Head of Development Scotland for Cycling UK said, “Cycling can be hugely beneficial for people’s mental health and wellbeing.
“Through cycling and sessions like bike maintenance, Health Revolutions is helping to improve people’s wellbeing, boost their self-esteem, foster belonging and tackle loneliness.
“It’s fantastic to be working with Stepping Out and other partners to reach people who have mental health conditions, including those living with severe and enduring illness.
“Although this is a new project, we’re already hearing inspiring stories from participants about the benefits they are experiencing.”
Inclusive Cycling mental health Cycling UK in Scotland Health