Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has some ‘wheel-y’ good news to share about its Inclusive Cycling initiative, which can now be rolled out in three main towns on a full-time basis, thanks to funding awarded by the Department for Communities (DfC).
The scheme is part of The ‘District Council Disability Sports Hub’ Project, whereby all 11 Council areas received disability sports packs, including sports wheelchairs, inclusive bikes, boccia sets and sensory packs.
After a pilot cycle programme launched during the summer of last year, issues with storage meant the bikes were serviced from Carrickfergus Leisure Centre and as a result, those wishing to take up the opportunity faced challenges with access and availability.
Council is delighted to announce that a funding award of just under £10,000 has been secured under the Department for Communities’ Access & Inclusion Programme 2019 for storage facilities to be installed in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne, meaning more people can take advantage of the bikes in each town.
Feedback from the pilot project has been very positive so far, with people from a wide range of age groups and mobility levels travelling to Carrickfergus Leisure Centre to avail of the opportunity to get out in the fresh air with their friends and family.
Many of those who have used the bikes have temporary mobility issues and were delighted that the scheme offered a chance for recuperation, while others who had lost mobility due to an accident found the cycle initiative was a great way to regain confidence and independence.
Three portable storage units will allow the bikes to be stored safely and securely near the designated cycle routes in each area, with purchase, delivery and additional works expected to take place by the Spring.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Mayor, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “This is fantastic news for the borough! I am delighted that Council’s Inclusive Cycle scheme will now be available to more people with mobility needs in each of our three main towns.
“In only a short time since it was launched as a pilot project, this initiative has proven very popular with people of all ages, who have been able to get out and take some exercise along designated cycle routes.
“The purchase of the new cycle storage facilities has been made possible thanks to the funding awarded by the Department for Communities, and I congratulate the Council officers involved with this wonderful project.”