Scottish Government to back scheme which proved worldwide social media hit
The team behind an innovative project which helps older people benefit from cycling is to receive additional Scottish Government support.
Officials are to work with Cycling Without Age to ensure it has the funds and expertise needed to allow the scheme to be rolled out across the country.
A pilot project running in Falkirk is currently benefitting from £36,000 from the Scottish Government and the European Social Fund however Social Security Minister Jeane Freeman has today confirmed additional support for similar projects across Scotland.
The Cycling Without Age movement began in Denmark and encourages volunteers to take older people for bike rides, using comfortable and safe trishaws.
More than twenty million people have watched a film featuring Falkirk’s Cycling Without Age project since it was posted online as part of BBC Three’s Amazing Humans series.
Ms Freeman was in Falkirk to meet older people who have benefitted from the scheme, along with its twenty-year-old organiser, Fraser Johnston.
She said: “It’s easy to see why the video featuring Fraser and his enthusiastic passengers has become a world-wide hit on social media – this is a terrific project.
“That’s why I’m delighted to announce that the Scottish Government will now work with Cycling Without Age to ensure older people right across Scotland can experience nature and feel the wind in their hair.
“We’re already providing some financial support for the scheme here in Falkirk and we want to see this great initiative spread nationwide.
“There is a lot of work to be done on the detail of the scheme but we are committed to ensuring the required financial and official support are available to provide this to older people across Scotland.
“This is a great example of a community project -- built on the hard work of volunteers and generous donations from individuals and companies.
“We’d like to see that continue but we’re determined to play our part in helping Cycling Without Age step up a gear here in Scotland.”
Fraser Johnston said: “This is the first government in the world to give its backing to a nationwide rollout of Cycling Without Age.
“It is fantastic to see the importance the Scottish Government places on supporting older people, as well as their commitment to active travel.
“The scheme has gone from strength to strength since I set it up in March this year and I am delighted that it will now be rolled out across the country.
“I am looking forward to working with the Scottish Government to develop the blueprint in the months ahead.”