My main work just now is cycle training and leading community bike rides. I also volunteer with some projects in the community that support asylum seekers and refugees. Our new scots friends are starting a new life in our city with nothing, and also usually have very little financial support, so I like to do my best to help people settle into our lovely city as much as possible!
During the pandemic, my paid work decreased, but that allowed my voluntary work to increase, which was great because I could give lots of energy to projects and people that really needed it. I now know lot's of people who could benefit from extra support, but I also need to make it sustainable for me. So I have decided to make a wee project to do what I do best!
I get a lot of requests from women to help them to ride a bike. Most of these women are asylum seekers, who live on the outskirts of the city and are unable to access some of the bigger cycle projects due to a number of barriers. Of course, I refer them to projects if they are able to attend, but I also feel that there is a need to get them cycling in their own community so they can feel comfortable to use the bike to get around from home. And, so I can introduce them to community projects and green spaces local to them, whilst increasing their support and social networks. And of course in addition, increasing their wellbeing, and hopefully their confidence to use the bike as a way of getting around their new community, and giving them a wonderful sense of freedom and confidence!
I want to raise some funds to cover my time to work with 2 or 3 women every week over the next 4 months. I'll work with them weekly/ bi-weekly until I feel they don't need my support any more. I will do beginners lessons if they need it (I can cycle over a bike that's good for teaching) and I will support them to apply for a free bike from one of the bike projects, if they don't have a bike yet. 3 ladies who are wanting lessons, already have bikes, so I can get started with them right away. I have already given 2 of them a lesson.
I will give them orientation rides, and teach them routes that will help them find their way to useful places and essential services, and also to the city centre if/when they are ready for that! I can also show them how to put their bike on a train, show some basic maintenance and repairs, and also use the funds to get some accessories for the bikes if they need it to make their cycling as safe and as comfortable as possible. I will introduce them to other groups that they can cycle with if it works for them.
The picture included, is the first woman I volunteered to teach cycling to 5 years ago through the Govan Community Project Women's Group. Asma now uses her bike almost daily, to pick up her shopping for the family of 4, to go to college, and to attend appointments. She is super proud that she manages all this by bike, and never has to take a bus anymore! And I am proud too. Her next dream is to have a cycle trip out of Glasgow to somewhere in nature... I am sure I can make that happen!
Many thanks for sharing, and donating too, if you can. Your donations will make a huge difference to the lives of women who are making a new safe life here in Glasgow.