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Gloucestershire Business News

Care home residents are on their bike thanks to Cheltenham-based firm's volunteers

A partnership between a Gloucestershire charity and county company is enabling care home residents to get on their bikes.

The Fresh Air and Friendship initiative has been launched by Cheltenham-based marketing firm Signal and Lilian Faithfull Care that allows care home residents to enjoy cycle rides.

The initiative is affiliated with 'Cycling without Age' a social enterprise which has helped set up similar projects across Europe.

That inspired Lindsay Travis from Signal to start the project in Cheltenham, to the delight of the residents at Lilian Faithfull Care.

Ms Travis said: "As a company we run a volunteering programme because we believe in the benefits of this for both our staff and our local community.

"Last year I came across an organisation called Cycling without Age, and thought that setting up a project in Cheltenham would be brilliant.

"We've got lots of keen cyclists in Signal, and our office is very close to the Honeybourne Line, so it's a really great fit for us."

Signal purchased a specialised 'trishaw' and got together a team of employees who are giving up their work breaks to pedal the 'trishaw' from St Faith's Nursing Home along the Honeybourne Line.

Suzanne Booker, director of care at Lilian Faithfull said: "As a charity it is fantastic to have the support of Signal.

"They have shown an amazing commitment to the project; the well-being and safety of our residents has always been their main consideration.

"This project makes such a tangible difference to the lives of our residents. It is not just the wonderful experience of the cycle ride; but also the friendships and conversations it starts.

"Our residents know that the team at Signal care enough about them to give up their time - that is really special."

Cheltenham Borough Council have given their full support to the project ensuring access for the trishaw along the Honeybourne Line.

Mike Redman, Director of Environment at the council added, "We are delighted to have been able to support this fantastic health and wellbeing initiative, which will make a real difference to the quality of life of local care home residents, whilst supporting our aim of promoting more physical activity across the age spectrum."

The trishaw has comfortable seat for two passengers so Lilian Faithfull Care residents can enjoy the ride alongside a carer or a member of their family.

As one resident put it, "I felt like the Queen! It was wonderful! I saw bits of Cheltenham I've never seen before."

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