CTC's Eve Holt and asylum seeker Rowa
CTC Cycling Development Officer Eve Holt with Rowa

CTC cycling sessions help asylum seekers

CTC is supporting a group of ten asylum seekers by holding cycling sessions in Alexandra Park, Manchester – and helping to change their lives for the better. You only have to listen to their reaction to realise how learning to cycle has given them new-found feelings of freedom and confidence.

Take the example of Rowa, who fled war-torn Syria. Rowa will find it so much easier to get around by bike for the volunteer work she does at Levenshulme Inspire, a partnership involving people committed to transforming the local area through community activity, creativity, enterprise and fun.

She said: “I love cycling and can’t wait to have a bike of my own to use every day. A bike will make it much easier for me to get around Manchester.

“I volunteer at Inspire two days a week where I help in the cafe.  Inspire is in Levenshulme which is about five miles from where I live, so I go by bus. On Fridays I volunteer at Moseley Court helping elderly people and I also have to travel there by bus.

I would love to cycle everywhere – it is so much healthier, much cheaper, more fun and better for the world. Rowa, asylum seeker from Syria

“I would love to cycle everywhere instead – it is so much healthier, much cheaper, more fun and better for the world.

“I have really enjoyed cycling in Alexandra Park on Mondays, it is such a beautiful park. I now feel far more confident about cycling and I have also enjoyed meeting and talking to people.”

Eve Holt, CTC Cycling Development Officer for Manchester, said: “Through Whalley Range on Wheels, one of our CTC Community Cycle Clubs in Greater Manchester, we’ve been supporting a fabulous group of ten asylum seekers to help them ride a bike.

“The club has been working in partnership with City of Sanctuary to enable this group to access regular sessions in the park. They are all now riding confidently around the park and will be supported to develop their on-road and maintenance skills over the next month. The intention is to then provide them all with their own bike.”

The group are doing a sponsored bike ride on Monday 7 March and are looking for donations to help cover the cost of bike parts, helmets, pumps and locks, so they can all have their own bikes for daily use. The community club is working with some of the local CTC bike recycling centres to revive donated second-hand bikes for this purpose.

Tony Upfold