Organisation:CYCLING WITHOUT AGECategory:Small OrganisationsCharity Reg no. :226981. Tell us about the issue(s) this organisation is tackling and why it's important
2. How does your organisation go about tackling these issues?
- Why was the organisation set up? What is it trying to change or do? Why is it important to do this? Cycling Without Age (CWA), a voluntary initiative, is an Irish Charity (#22698), providing specially designed trishaws to take people for slow-cycling spins, with volunteer cyclists. Launched in Ireland in 2017, we now have 43 trishaws in care homes, day care and in the community. Many people, due to age, physical and/or intellectual disabilities cannot cycle alone. Now, they can be taken for cycle rides and enjoy the experience of ‘the wind in their hair’. CWA normalises older age and infirmity, giving people the opportunity to explore their neighbourhood. They engage with their pilot, share stories, laughter, and fun. Our passengers include people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, MS, dementia, blind, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, autism, Downs syndrome.
3. Tell us about a case where the organisation has made a positive difference.
- Explain your organisation's approach to solving the issues you identified in your previous answer. If it has had to adapt its activities in response to COVID-19, how did it do this? CWA treats older age/disability as a normal part of life’s process. The passengers and pilots get huge satisfaction and empowerment from their connection. It sounds like a little thing. But it has huge physical/psychological benefits for passengers and pilots. Covid-19 was a challenge for CWA as most of the trishaws were based in care homes. We started free community rides, sponsored by local authorities. I used social media to keep the stories alive: with a database of 500, Facebook Group (Cycling Without Age - Ireland) 500 members, Twitter account (@age_cycling) with 1,140 followers. I kept in touch via email/phone with the trishaw operators, as care homes and residential units were badly hit by Covid. As a community in CWA, good communications is part of our ‘customer service’
4. What has the overall impact of this work been and how do you measure it?
- This is your chance to talk about impact in qualitative terms. Provide a case study to illustrate the impact of the organisation’s work. We will accept anonymous case studies if you need to protect the identity of a service user or individuals under 18 years of age. You can include a quote or endorsement if you wish.Quote from Siobhan Grant, Manager at St. Joseph’s, Shankill, (on 2nd Sept. 2021): Cycling Without Age Ireland have partnered with us since 2017 and have helped us ensure that the people in our care (all of whom are living with dementia) can feel the wind in their hair and experience the sense freedom that cycling brings. They have continued to be one of our most involved community partners, they check in often with us, direct new pilot volunteers to us and keep us up to date with many local and national initiatives. Clara’s enthusiasm and passion to bring CWA to as many people as she can is very much admired by us all here. The enjoyment that we have had on our trishaws with our families, volunteers and the people in our care is priceless. We have become a welcome sight in our local park and our trishaw trips take longer each time as we stop to interact and chat with our neighbours, we are breaking down the stigma of dementia with each and every conversation. From St. John of God Adult Services: Thank you for the Trishaw training you provided for the staff team of our Saint John of God (27th Sept). We have over 180 people in our Carmona Adult Day Services that will benefit from this pilot training. CWA gives our service users access to the cycleway on [Dun Laoghaire] seafront in an inclusive way. This initiative is a great step in assisting our SJOG service in our stated goal of achieving full community participation and integration for the men and women we support.
5. What makes your organisation special?
- How would you describe the overall impact of your organisation’s work? What measures do you use to know if you have been successful at achieving your goals? How do you know what to improve or change in your work? Please include as much evidence as possible to demonstrate your impact. The impact of CWA is measured by the public response and demand for trishaws, to become pilots, to media coverage and the recognition factor now after 4 years’ voluntary promotion. With no funding, we tell stories, use social media, and engage positively. We have been on RTE Morning Ireland, Nationwide, Late, Late Show, done dozens of radio, newspaper/magazine interviews, won an impact award from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland. WWW.cyclingwithoutage.ie has a database of 500 followers, a Facebook Group (Cycling Without Age - Ireland) with 500 members, a Twitter account (@age_cycling) with 1,140 followers. From this, I measure our impact and respond quickly. Recognition of the name and brand of CWA is now gaining traction. Daily emails and phone requests from people wanting to become involved is one measure. Local authorities are now purchasing trishaws for community-based use as part of their active & sustainable travel commitment. They recognise that access for all ages and abilities is a cornerstone of our community. We work in partnership with them offering pilot training, advice, and promotional support. We have trained dozens of volunteer pilots for the LA-based trishaws.
6. How can the public support your work?
- What is the organisation’s unique selling-point? What makes the organisation different from others working in the same field/area?CWA is unique in Ireland. A free sustainable, voluntary cycling initiative run by and piloted by volunteers. Our USP is that uniqueness, it is such a good news story. We bring joy, fun and happiness to our passengers, their carers, families and our pilots. The general public feels happier when they see us. It brings a smile to people’s faces as we go by. CWA gives people something to look forward to, to relax and enjoy the unparalleled experience. People with dementia, intellectual disabilities, and non-verbal people begin to relax and smile while cycling. Tensions ease, they are absorbed in the moment, they feel that this is a different sensation. CWA meets a need for cycling for #AllAgesAndAbilities. We ask no questions, we welcome everyone, we treat our passengers and pilots as equals.
7. Describe how your organisation is transparent and accountable
- Do you need volunteers? Do you fundraise? Can the public share your story? Give them a call to action.The public support our work by sharing the story of CWA. We use social media to help spread the story, share photos and experiences. People who wish to become volunteer pilots contact us. Volunteer pilots are the backbone of CWA. They must be trained before they can take out passengers. CWA is growing and evolving all over the country in an organic way. It takes a degree of commitment, of time and mindset, so we don’t advertise, we let people come to us. The public share our stories, which gives CWA an authenticity and profile that reflects our voluntary initiative. We do not fundraise. We advise people how they get funding for a trishaw. Our call to action: Spread the word about CWA. Tell, by stories and photos how magical the experience is and how they might become involved.
- For example, do you publish your annual accounts online? Are you compliant with the Charities Regulator's Charities Governance Code? Do you use the Charities Regulator’s Fundraising Principles?CWA Ireland is a Limited Company, #638262. We submit Annual Returns, which are available to all online. Since 2018, we have had the pro bono assistance of A&L Goodbody Solicitors with making Company Returns. They also assisted us with applying for Registered Charity Status, in 2021, CHY No. 22698. Both things make us compliant with all the legal and Charity Regulator’s Governance Code. CWA Ireland is one of over 40 countries worldwide under the umbrella of CWA. We adhere to the CWA Guiding Principles: Generosity, Slowness, Storytelling, Relationships, Without Age. We adhere to the UN Sustainable Goals of 3. Good Health & Wellbeing; 10: Reduced Inequalities; 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities.