Working at Wyre Wheels lifts Angela’s spirits

Angela’s mental health problems had left her feeling depressed and she shunned social situations. However, volunteering at Wyre Wheels has given Angela her life back: her confidence is up and she enjoys socialising again.

Angela was severely depressed, shied away from social situations and was unwilling to get involved in things. It was Angela’s family that suggested she should do something to get her out of the house and raise her spirits as she had not left the house for a year.

Angela heard about Wyre Wheels two years ago while she was looking for a job. She spotted an opportunity to volunteer on the cycling project and decided to give it a try. At first she doubted she could do it, but with the support of the centre coordinator, she got through the DBS process and other paperwork. She realised early on that she really enjoyed the administrative tasks, and has undertaken this role from the start.

Volunteering at Wyre Wheels has led to many opportunities for Angela. She has attended leadership, first aid and disability awareness training courses, which have boosted her self-confidence and career ambitions as she, "would love to work with people with disabilities". She has even had a couple of job interviews. 

Angela believes that being a part of Wyre Wheels has greatly improved her confidence in social settings. She said: "They are constantly happy, so how can you be miserable when they are around." She is keen to be involved with the community stakeholder group and to help keep the project going. She is now involved in other activities at the centre and takes part in the multi-sport sessions as well. 

Signing up to volunteer here was to get me out of the house and give me confidence. I love it, I absolutely love it, I don’t know where I would be without this.

Angela, Volunteer at Wyre Wheels

Angela feels that she is much less depressed since she started to volunteer. Cycling UK Inclusive Cycling Officer, Jayne Roders says: “Getting out of the house and meeting people, each with their own things to overcome, provides a support network for Angela. She sees the smiles on the riders’ faces showing how much they enjoy using the bikes and riding round with everyone else.”

Angela now helps out with the cycling activities at the new Wednesday outdoor sessions and feels that it would be great to get more people to come along. "I love being part of the joy and seeing happy people taking part in the cycling. Everyone gets to know everybody, it’s like a social group. Otherwise they sit at home alone."

Getting involved with the inclusive cycling project has also had a positive impact on Angela’s family life. Her daughters now also volunteer at the sports centre, and the family have started to do more things together as a result of her involvement and her improved mental health and self-confidence. "I am happier and come out and go for walks with them and do things, whereas before I wouldn’t," she says. 

Wyre Wheels at Fleetwood Leisure Centre is one of over 40 Cycling UK accredited clubs in the UK that are part of the National Inclusive Cycling Network - a partnership between Cycling UK and Cycling Projects, that is funded through the Big Lottery Fund
Case study by Jayne Rodgers.