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After seeing the amazing work that a local North East charity does to support local disadvantaged people to get active through cycling, I realised this was a great opportunity for the Northern Care Coordination Partnership (‘NCCP’) veterans and some of their family members.
Recyke Y Bike refurbish and sell bikes and essential accessories too. The proceeds help to provide employment, volunteering opportunities, and training. They provide pop up bike repair stations and free bikes for refugees and other people on low incomes who are referred to us. They are a North East charity that takes in used bikes from members of the public and other donated sources with over 2000 bikes donated each year. Recyke Y Bike have workshops in Byker (Newcastle upon Tyne) and Durham. Each of these workshops have a sales outlet attached where they offer affordable bikes as well as servicing & repairs.
Recyke Y Bike has recently joined the NCCP and will offer a quick and simple referral pathway for our veterans and families being support by our Support Care Coordinators. Once the referral is made, WWTW support the clients to attend a tailored, veteran only induction. During the induction, the clients will learn the basic maintenance skills to service a bicycle, taught by a qualified specialist. After the induction, the veterans and family member that enjoy this type of activity will return weekly as a volunteer and build on their knowledge and skills with a vision that they will soon be dismantling, building and servicing bikes unsupervised.
The veterans and some of the family members who are being supported by the NCCP have low social confidence and may struggle to communicate with new groups of people. The partnership between the NCCP and Recyke Y Bike has been formed to specifically tackle social isolation and is hoped that once the group have built their confidence a little they will soon volunteer here individually and will then self-refer to other organisations without support from the Support Care Coordinators.
Early signs are that this type of group activity has really helped this cohort of veterans and some are showing massive improvements with their mental health and confidence. The impact this change has on their wider family and community networks cannot be underestimated. As service personnel, we all speak a common language and are supportive of each other, but the over-arching aim must be that we can feel just as relaxed within our local community and no longer require/want support from veteran specific organisations.
WWTW are very keen to see how this partnership, along with other social prescription/confidence building partnerships we have such as Angling Trust and Calvert Kielder, develops over the coming months.
For more information about our NCCP Programme, visit: www. walkingwiththewounded.org.uk/Home/Programmes/135