CWAS Durnhythe - Portsoy is a chapter of Cycling Without Age Scotland (CWAS). CWAS holds the Scotland Country Licence agreement with Cycling Without Age International, which is based in Denmark and is a global movement currently operating in 50 countries and through 2,200 Chapters. The main role of the organisation is to enhance and enrich lives by giving elderly and disabled people access to the beautiful outdoors through trishaw rides. Trained volunteers would take rides out from the care home on approved routes around Portsoy. The trishaw rides can be enjoyed free of charge regardless of dependence level, including people who need to be hoisted for transfers. They offer a unique opportunity for these individuals to re-engage with their communities, to experience social interaction once again and to enjoy fresh air and visual stimulation: all hugely beneficial to wellbeing. To see some of the trishaws in action at at the CWAS Summit in 2019 check out https://youtu.be/Ebnc35EqUZw.
We are hoping to fundraise for our first trishaw this summer. We undertook a presentation event in October 2020 and the residents were really keen to fundraise for our trishaw so that they can enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery on offer along with an opportunity to socialise with local residents, friends and family. The idea was shared with the local community through social media at the time and the response received was really positive regarding both the intention to support with volunteering & fundraising but also with proposal to use the trishaw to support both the community and Durnhythe residents. By now we would normally have been well underway with fundraising through local events such as a Summer Fayre, soup and sweet, community bingo etc. However, due to the wider Covid restrictions, we have been unable to undertake these activities yet. We hope to begin these towards the launch of the project with the hope that the infection rates would reduce enough by that time to safely undertake these activities. The funds raised from these events would go towards various other accessories beyond what is included as standard with the trishaw such as hi-vis vests, helmets for the volunteers and weather-proof clothing.
The team leading the project within the care home are 3 key board members (Chapter Captain, Treasurer, Administrator). Currently we have 8 Durnhythe staff keen to volunteer and there is a lot of interest from the community too so it is expected to be at least similar to Durnhythe staff volunteers so 8-10 but this is expected to expand as the project develops. In terms of how many passengers on rides we aim to support, we are hoping to undertake approximately a 100 rides per month for the first couple years prior to expanding the chapter further.
At Durnhythe, we need to significantly enhance the range and versatility of social and recreational activities offered within and out with the home, with the aim of embedding the home into the community – e.g. Inter-generational Practice, volunteer run activities, co-produced groups and activities involving residents, their families and the local community. CWAS Durnhythe - Portsoy will be able to tick many of the above boxes with an expected socialisation and relationship forming engagement between various age groups of volunteers and passengers on the rides. We hope for the chapter to further expand to include tandem/assisted bikes as for many residents/disabled people, the opportunity to actively participate in cycling is likely to yield further significant physical and mental health benefits.
"Meaningful social groups are not only central to life experience but also crucial for health and well-being. Relatively low-cost group interventions can provide residents with a sense of autonomy and belonging as well as social support. "(Gleib et al, 2014)
A recent Research and Evaluation Report independently carried out by the Aging Lab at Heriot Watt University to measure the impact CWAS projects are having all round the country demonstrates the potential of this project in Portsoy. The access the report follow this link- https://cyclingwithoutage.scot/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/03/Gow-2020-Cycling-Without-Age-Research-and-Evaluation-Report-2019-20.pdf
The project will improve the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the passengers and the volunteers. The ride on a trishaw is a completely novel experience unrivalled by any other mode of transport. With an unrestricted view and interested, lively company, fresh air, a slow pace and the chance to interact with passers-by (old friends and new), the rides are a highly stimulating experience for many who spend much of their time indoors and on their own. This would be the first trishaw in over a 40-mile radius so there will be a significant novelty factor. Portsoy has a huge number of visitors from all over the country so the trishaw being seen as it is out and about around the town is likely to spread the word for this positive activity and enterprise even further.
The rides will offer an outdoor pursuit which is the safest option in the wake of the pandemic and would be an activity that could be offered all year round. There are some fantastic routes that the rides could take and allow passengers to enjoy the local scenery. We are hoping to set up a health walk for Portsoy starting at Durnhythe and taking in the nearby loch. We feel that some of our dependent residents would be able to enjoy this walk too on the trishaw. Seeing other people and places stimulates both the mind and the body and leaves the person feeling happy and even for those who have memory impairment are left with feelings of elation. The project would benefit residents and most family members providing an ideal opportunity to get out and about, especially for those who are immobile or do not have the ability to walk great distances. This initiative would promote social connections in Portsoy and would reduce social isolation by bringing both the residents of Durnhythe and members of the local community together. The CWAS trishaws will provide a sustainable form of recreation in Portsoy and the availability of rides will allow community events such as the Boat Festival to be more inclusive and accessible.
For those who volunteer with the project; as pilots to ride the trishaws, co pilots to accompany a ride on their own bike or take on the role of co passenger it is a chance to be part of something that makes a real difference to the lives of those in their community. They will form friendships and, from the stories they hear on the rides, learn more about the town they live in. They will develop important social skills and their own health will benefit from the exercise and fresh air. As what they are providing is so unique and a real breath of fresh air to the participants, all our volunteers find it a hugely rewarding experience. This is particularly relevant in a rural setting where there are often limited opportunities to volunteer and those that do exist may have been cut back recently due to Covid restrictions
For both passengers, volunteers and the wider community it will help on the Covid recovery journey back to some form of normality after months of uncertainty and chaos. The project will bring positivity and hope and contribute to the wellbeing economy, a current and valuable concept promoted by the government. This project will be especially important for those who have been shielding and socially isolating during the lockdowns and will allow them to safely socialise and enjoy the outdoors.