At last… we’re back in the saddle and helping older people reconnect with their communities.
Following a pause during the pandemic, the St Hugh’s Hospital triobike is up and running again, and we’re back taking older people out for a spin in the fresh air… just what we need to blow away those lockdown cobwebs.
We’ve been involved in the Cycling Without Age movement for some time and, alongside Navigo, we invested in two triobikes – battery-assisted trishaw cycles operated by volunteer ‘pilots’.
We’ve once again joined forces with befriending charity Friendship At Home to take members on pleasant, gentle jaunts. The first rides of 2021 took place this week at Haverstoe Park, and the lucky participants were treated to a cuppa and a buttie too, thanks to the wonderful team at Haverstoe Park Pavilion. Even torrential rain didn’t put any of us off having fun…
Up for a jaunt were June and Ernie. Ernie, 86, is Friendship At Home’s longest-serving volunteer, and his 82-year-old wife, June, helps him out.
“I worked for Tioxide for 38 years,” Ernie explained, “and we had a dinner once a month. Julie from Friendship At Home attended one of these and asked for volunteers. Out of 200-odd people, I was the only one who put my hand up… and I haven’t looked back since.
“I’ve been very lucky to be there from the very start 15-plus years ago, and it’s been a pleasure seeing the organisation grow. I love it, and it means so much to the people who use it. Come snow, sleet or rain, the members always turn out.”
Ernie and June, who live in Cleethorpes, have three daughters. They have been married exactly 60 years on July 29th – happy diamond wedding anniversary to you both from all of us at St Hugh’s!
“I fell in love with her the moment we met,” said Ernie, “and we married within 11 months.”
“As long as he does what he’s told, he doesn’t get into trouble,” June said. “The secret to a long and happy marriage is give and take.”
“I’ve been well trained!” Ernie quipped.
During lockdown they enjoyed spending socially-distanced time with their near neighbours, but they missed being involved with Friendship At Home.
June said: “It’s so nice seeing people having a good chinwag. All the entertainment and the clubs and the singing sessions… what the charity does makes a lot of people very happy. There is no need for anyone to be alone.”
Julie Rigby is Friendship At Home’s development manager. She praised the triobike for how it helps older people – it’s just one of the ways the organisation tries to reduce loneliness and isolation.
“We’ve been in partnership with St Hugh’s Hospital for the past four and a half years,” she explained, “and they oversee our dementia project by funding two dementia specialist nurses who go out into the community supporting not only people with dementia, but their carers too.
“We couldn’t do this without that support. It’s a fantastic partnership for us and has a great benefit for the community.
“It’s the same for the triobike – we couldn’t do this without St Hugh’s. It’s a brilliant scheme, and especially after the pandemic, getting older people out and about – particularly those with limited mobility – is so vital.”
If you’d like to volunteer as a pilot, call Friendship At Home on 01472 602500. Full training and support is given.
Find out more…
- Friendship At Home aims to combat loneliness and isolation throughout North East Lincolnshire, and to improve people’s quality of life. Get involved here –www.friendshipathome.org.uk
- The Cycle Hub – with bases at Grimsby’s and Cleethorpes’s railway stations – is a community interest company. Visit www.cyclehublincs.org.uk
- Good food, hot drinks and more are on offer at Haverstoe Park Pavilion. Find them here – facebook.com/HaverstoePavilion
- Cycling Without Age is a worldwide movement – head over to https://cyclingwithoutage.org
- Thanks to TransPennine Express for storing our triobike. Visit www.tpexpress.co.uk
We’d like to say a big thank-you to Cleethorpes Cycle Hub for repairing our triobike over the weekend, and to TransPennine Express and the booking office at Cleethorpes Railway Station for storing it through the pandemic. They have played their part in getting the triobike back into our community… so thank you!
If you think you could volunteer as a triobike pilot, get in touch with Friendship At Home on 01472 602500. Full training and support will be given.