Calderdale woman praises pioneering cycling programme as it expands across West Yorkshire

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A scheme to tackle health inequalities by offering people an eight week programme of cycle skills training is being expanded across West Yorkshire after surveys showed people taking part had felt happier.  

More than 1,250 people across the county have benefited from the Cycle for Health programme since it first launched six years ago.

Previously, participants needed to be referred to the programme by health care professionals, but West Yorkshire’s Mayor, Tracy Brabin, has now expanded the programme to allow people to self-refer in the hope it can reach hundreds more people in the region.  

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the past year alone, 176 people have taken part in the programme, with all of them stating the course had make them feel happier.

The Cycle for Health scheme is being expanded across West Yorkshire.The Cycle for Health scheme is being expanded across West Yorkshire.
The Cycle for Health scheme is being expanded across West Yorkshire.

The course also had a positive impact on mental and physical health issues with 60% suggesting it helped a lot.

Annette McEwan, 53, lives in Halifax and was referred to Cycle for Health course during the Covid pandemic.

Annette, who is bipolar, suffered mobility issues due to a life-changing car accident 20 years ago and is unable to work due to her mental health.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The instructors were amazing, so supportive and considerate. I can’t walk very far without the aid of a walking stick, so when they told me I’d ridden a mile, with the help of my electric bike, I was so overjoyed with the achievement, I burst into tears,” she said.

“It was just the most amazing thing for me as somebody with mobility problems to be able to go for a bike ride with friends – something I would never have done without the course.”

The scheme is delivered in partnership with national charity Cycling U, who deliver the programme across all five of West Yorkshire’s districts.

Ms Brabin added:  “I’ve seen first-hand the positive impacts this pioneering programme has had on participants physical and mental health. Therefore, I’m delighted to expand this programme to allow self-referrals which will help hundreds more people across the region reap the benefits of cycling.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I want people from all communities and backgrounds to have the same opportunities, being able to access innovative support programmes such as this and experience the real benefits it delivers for themselves.”