With help from local supporting organisations, Abbots Wood Day Service, based in Monkmoor, Shrewsbury, has successfully raised nearly £3500 to enable them to purchase a state-of-the-art wheelchair tandem cycle which will allow wheelchair users to experience the feeling of cycling for the very first time.
Helen Fokianou of Abbots Wood explains where it all started. “We were fortunate to host Michael McCarthy early in 2016 – he came to talk to us about his life since a car accident left him registered blind, hemiplegic and with learning difficulties while he was still at school. Encouraged by his family, Michael has gone onto complete the London Marathon, climb Mount Kenya, support street kids in Nairobi and also cycle a tandem bike coast to coast across Britain. It was his story and achievements which inspired us to get fundraising and the Big Inclusivity Bike Quest was born.
“We managed to get donations of static exercise bikes, a trike and a tandem as well as the loan of specialist bikes from Quest 88 and Charlottes Tandems. This meant we could increase the opportunities for more and more users to get involved.
“Initially we focused on helping people cycle a whole or part of a mile which we calculated was 15 laps of the car park and then started tracking all these achievements on a large map. It was then we realised we need a wheelchair tandem cycle to be able to include all our users and so the fundraising began.”
Over the past few months over 40 service users and staff have been involved in two challenges, virtually cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, following by a huge celebration to raise more funds, and then a duathlon walking and cycling the coast of Britain.
All this effort has paid off and the Abbots Wood team having raised over £3500 are now the proud owners of a brand new front-loading wheelchair tandem.
“Staff members and service users are able to cycle the bikes to other day services ensuring as many people as possible can benefit”, explains Helen. “We also invite other organisations to come over and use the bikes, which enables our service users to meet new people and to promote health and wellbeing.
“Staff, parents and carers’ enthusiasm and dedication along with support from organisations like the Inclusively Fit Project and WSP Global have all made this a reality and we are so grateful for their involvement.”
Abbots Wood are holding a BBQ on 13th September from 11.30am – 2.30pm as an official launch of the new front-loading cycle. Everyone is welcome to come along and celebrate.