Following a generous donation from United Saint Saviour’s, a venerable charity based in Southwark and founded in 1541, Time & Talents kicked off an exciting initiative in October 2016, a chapter of Cycling Without Age in Rotherithe, with three cycle taxis.
Cycling Without Age is a movement started in Denmark in 2012 by Ole Kassow. Ole wanted to help the elderly get back on their bicycles, but he had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents. In a few years, his random act of generosity has become a worldwide organisation with chapters in five continents.
Cargobike Life was instrumental in preparing the bid, ordering the bikes, providing the training and helping finding volunteers.
One of the biggest attraction of the initiative, from Time & Talents’ point of view, is how it brings together different generations, in an area which has seen massive changes in the past 50-70 years.
Here is a report from Alan, a volunteer:
We went for a ride in Southwark Park with four lovely ladies. My 9 year old daughter also came along for the ride, on her own bike. The trikes performed faultlessly (although #3 has a bit of a squeak) and a nice time was had by all, I think. You may have heard that we had at least one disappointed hopeful, Len: he was philosophical about not getting a seat this time, though.
After a couple of loops around the park, nobody was bothered about tea, so we just went round a couple more times. At one point we went off road along a woodchip path for a bit! Dolly and Irene enjoyed a bit of speed and excitement – but they also loved it when we just stopped for a bit at the duckpond.. peaceful. We chatted a bit about the area.. I think it was Irene who said she wasn’t native Bermondsey but she’s been around these parts for 46 years so she’s pretty settled 🙂
By then the passengers were tired, so we headed home and dropped them off about 2.30pm.
At the end the ladies kept wanting to tip us.. we suggested they make a donation to T&T instead if they like. They did end up giving my daughter some ice cream money, I wasn’t too keen but they insisted. She did actually buy ice cream for herself and her baby sister with it.
Many thanks again to United Saint Saviour’s for the generous support.
UPDATE FEB 2018:
The project was featured on ‘The Wireless’, Age UK’s radio programme for over 55s, presented by Martin Lewis.