An award-winning Wigan charity hopes members will pedal their way to a more independent life.
The go-ahead My Life Legacy - which operates from the Thompson House Farm riding and training centre Standish - has earned a new grant to establish a bicycle workshop project for people across the region with disabilities.
Founder and chief executive Carioline Tomlinson received a £2,500 donation from Maximus - a government-funded health and employment services business - after it received nominations from officers Robert Winter and Tracey Gaskell following a visit to the complex off Pepper Lane.
The cash will now be used to develop a cycle repair workshop as well as a revolutionary “bicycle lending library.”
My Life Legacy helps to make lives better for people of all ages, including young people and adults with disabilities, people with ill health or age-related problems, as well as those feeling generally lonely and isolated.
It was established as a result of a group of Wigan disabled people and their families wanting something different to traditional types of health and social care services, and “more choice and control” over their own lives.
For months now the young people involved have been planning the project with their local community should just such a windfall arrive.
Now a route for a sponsored cycle is taking shape to generate more income to buy the highly specialist bikes required.
It will allow the start of basic repairs to bikes to take place, built into the structure of a training scheme, and it coincides with the council’s recently announced push for more cycling routes to be created across the borough, including the upgrading to a cycle way of the old Stars colliery railway line through Gidlow and Beech Hill.
Ms Tomlinson said My Life was delighted to receive the recognition and support of Maximus which would now help to “bring young people together” through a supported cycling scheme.
She became a familiar figure in the village supporting her own disabled son with his headline-making charity rides around the region on a specially adapted tricycle.
She added: “This project will help our young people to meet new friends, build relationship, learn new things and gain confidence. It will also help allow them to become more independent and take [art in activities in their own community while having lots of fun...which is something so many of us take for granted.
Maximus chief executive Robert Winter said social isolation and loneliness suffered by disabled people was “common”. And the scheme would help disabled people to live “more active and meaningful lives” within Wigan and the greater borough.