Grant windfall to help homeless people in Westminster get on their bikes to improve health and wellbeing.

Cyclists at a homeless hostel in Westminster can continue their quest for pedal power after being awarded a £13,000 cycling grant to boost their health and wellbeing and explore the city’s greenspaces.

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The windfall will enable residents at Queen Mary homeless hostel, in Greencoat Place, to carry on running their cycling club for the next three years.

Cycling Grants London is a programme funded by Transport for London (TfL) and managed by the environmental regeneration charity, Groundwork London. It offers funding of up to £13,000 over three years to community groups such as residents’ associations, charities and youth groups for projects that encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to cycle safely.

Run by housing association Riverside, Queen Mary has been supporting vulnerable women since 1926, and offers accommodation and support for homeless females aged 25-plus with complex needs, including mental health issues.

The cycling club was formed when transport charity Sustrans set up a 10-week cycling course to improve customers’ health and wellbeing, build their confidence and reduce social isolation.

Kelvin O’Mard, Riverside’s Area Manager for Westminster, said: “We are delighted that our cycling club can continue for another three years thanks to Cycling Grants London. The initiative is very popular with residents and we’ve seen real benefits from participants such as improving their health and wellbeing, mental health, and helping them to become more independent. We also have qualified instructors from Westminster Council that give lessons on cycling and road safety.

“The club is a great way for our customers to get outdoors and explore the city’s parks. Some members hadn’t cycled since they were a child, so joining the club is a chance for them to pick up new skills. The exercise has helped others to recover from illness, improve balance and mobility skills. Participants now feel more confident on the bike, and this funding now secures the future of the club for a few more years.”

Lilli Matson, TfL’s Director of Transport Strategy said: “We want to enable all Londoners to take up cycling or cycle more often and it’s fantastic to see our grant helping the women at Queen Mary to discover the benefits of cycling. As well as simply being enjoyable, cycling leads to a healthier lifestyle and a cleaner environment, and is a great way to get around the city – this is why the Mayor is committed to improving cycling provision across the Capital.”

To find out more about our supported housing services visit: www.riverside.org.uk/care-and-support/supported-living.

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