British Alevi Federation were awarded £10,000 in 2019 for a 3-year project, which aims to encourage more Turkish and Kurdish-speaking community members to cycle to improve their mental and physical health.
The project provides cycle training, free bike hire, bike storage, bike maintenance and group cycling events, all with Turkish and Kurdish-speaking instructors. The project was impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and had to wait until restrictions lifted to resume their sessions in April 2021. When they were unable to deliver in-person sessions, they focused on improving their bike storage and maintaining their bikes ready for participants to return.
Since April they have provided 29 cycle training sessions on weekends and weekdays, exceeding their participant target of 30 by supporting 67 people, half of which were children.
A participant that described themselves as a 46-year old full-time housewife commented:
“I always wanted to learn to cycle but was not brave enough to start. When I saw cycle training videos on BAF’s social media I decided to make a call and book. After 10 hours of lessons I feel confident to ride on my own. Thanks to BAF and the cycling club for teaching me how to ride.”
The grant recipient commented that four of their volunteers attended courses about understanding and working with people with disabilities as part of the WCGL training programme that GWL run: “It was very a good experience because we do have autistic kids coming to our cycle training sessions. Thanks for providing these courses.” These volunteers will be able to take this learning into the project’s final year of delivery and beyond.