Highland Cycle Ability Centre
A story by Watermill Foundation
We provide supervised rides for young people with disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour, mental health, and their carers and specially adapted equipment, either at our track or with them on Outreach, visiting their clubs or support groups.
What Highland Cycle Ability Centre did
We had more carers and young people than we had anticipated which was wonderful. It shows their is an appetite for outdoor accessible pursuits post Covid and carers and cared for children can enjoy activities together.
What Watermill Foundation has learned
Reaching out to and engaging with new families. Targeting families most in need of support. Dealing with unexpected challenges or opportunities.
Finding other sources of funding
How Watermill Foundation has benefitted from the funding
Has allowed us to fulfil the hoped for targets, and allowed us to give so many carers and those they care for, pleasure, freedom , company and well being.
Disabled children and young people will have more opportunities to have fun, develop friendship and do activities they enjoy.
We had not anticipated how many enjoyed the freedom and relaxation of being out after the lockdowns of Covid. We thought we would have 500 carers - we had 673. We thought we would have 350 young people - we had 742. I think these numbers speak for themselves, and demonstrate the popularity of the project.
The visit to Shetland demonstrated the requirement for the project and as a result some families have purchased special cycles. This has been of great benefit to those few individuals and we have been asked to return.
More carers taking part in the physical activity with or without those they care for.
Carers and young people taking part exceeded all expected numbers. Carers number 673, with young people 742. A lot of these were from the Shetland visit where cycles like these had not been seen before. Ohers enjoyed seeing them again. Among new people were holiday makers.
A family with severely disable daughter now attends regularly with her carers to enjoy the freedom of a cycle instead of a wheelchair, and enjoy less tantrums.
The freedom for parents and siblings to get a break knowing that those they look after are enjoying themselves.
The numbers tell the story.
The parents of William have stated they have a better sleep pattern and fewer tantrums, and less mood swings. William is a weekly attender.
Well being improved by meeting others
Carers have stated that the friends made are very advantageous.
Marianne brings picnic lunch to have in the grounds after cycling, where she meets others having picnic lunch
Additional project outcome
It has brought additional use by Special Needs Activity Project during holiday times, and both carers and young people from Moray and Aberdeenshire, where the facilities do not exist.
The families of those attending with children in special needs schools ate now coming to use the cycles and track during holidays, giving better breaks for themselves and other carers