Cycle-power project to help care home residents feel part of community

Older people in east Suffolk could soon be getting out and about and enjoying the countryside – thanks to a new form of transport.

Framlingham’s Hour Community project has been accepted as an affiliate of the award-winning Cycling Without Age movement and is now trying to raise £7,000 to buy and insure a trishaw.

The trishaw – a cycle-powered chair in which two people sit in front of the cyclist – would enable the group to take elderly residents out for trips in fine weather.

Members took a trishaw along to Mills Meadow care home in Framlingham to show some of the residents what the experience would be like.

Cycling Without Age, founded in Copenhagen in 2012, brings generations closer together by sharing experiences by bike and now works with more than 1,000 care homes in 30 countries.

A study by the University of Bath, said that low levels of physical activity in older people are linked to physical and mental health problems.

Long periods spent in the home can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation among people in this age group while increased community involvement has the potential to reduce the risk of these health problems.

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For the elderly passengers, the rides can make them feel part of the community again, overcoming isolation, providing an enhanced quality of life, creating new relationships, refreshing the memory of a lived life and places once known or simply being able to sleep without sleeping pills.

Nick Corke, chief executive officer of Hour Community, said a crowdfunding campaign would run until the end of December.

He said: “All we need now is our own trishaw and we can get underway with offering this service to the residents of the home.”

Having had a ride in the trishaw herself, Marie Reeve, manager of Mills Meadow care home in Fore Street, said: “I know that the residents will absolutely love it and it will be yet another activity that will add to their health and wellbeing.”

The group will also be looking for cyclists who can spare an hour or two who would be interested in helping with the project.

To donate to the project visit the crowdfunding page here.