Tayside and Central Scotland

Elderly cycle ride rolls across Scotland

Public Health and Sport Minister Aileen Campbell (right) chats with with Mary Duncan, 90, Jim Taylor, 96, and volunteer Harry Wilson during the launch of Cycling Without Age Scotland at the Kelpies in Falkirk Image copyright PA
Image caption Cycling without Age has been operating in Falkirk since February 2017

A scheme that uses specially designed cycles to take elderly people on rides in an effort to tackle social isolation is to be rolled out across Scotland.

The Cycling Without Age (CWA) project sees volunteers take their passengers out on so-called "trishaws".

The scheme, which began in Denmark, has been operating in Falkirk since 2017.

The Scottish government will spend £300,000 to expand it across Scotland, beginning in East Lothian, Perth and Kinross, the Highlands and the Borders.

'Alone at home'

A BBC3 film about the Falkirk project went viral and was viewed more than 26 million times across the world after it was broadcast in July last year.

Ministers said the first phase of the roll-out would take place over the next year, while partnerships for further projects would be agreed in eight other areas.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The idea originated in Denmark in 2012 and has spread to Scotland

CWA Scotland executive officer Christine Bell said the scheme was "simple yet powerful", and had helped bring many of those who had previously been isolated back into the community.

He added: "In a society with a growing number of elderly people living in care or alone at home, this project addresses many social and well-being concerns.

"The act of two passengers sharing a trishaw, along with the volunteer pilots, creates new relationships and friendships, which has proven to be one of the most valuable aspects of this project."

'Wind in their hair'

Public Health and Sport Minister Aileen Campbell said the funding would be directed to those communities where it was likely to have the most impact.

She added: "Cycling Without Age started with the simple aim of helping older people feel the wind in their hair again.

"Through the committed action of a few volunteers, the project was brought to Scotland and has made a positive difference to many people's lives."

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