Sustrans has helped fund the purchase of a trishaw for Forever Young - a community group of sheltered housing tenants in Renfrewshire – to help people with mobility limitations enjoy their local, traffic-free section of National Cycle Network Route 7.
The trishaw will open up opportunities for members of the Forever Young group to use National Cycle Network Route 7 for outdoor activities, exercise, and social occasions.
We joined members of the group in Renfrewshire to learn more about how the trishaw will help them experience the benefits of their local, traffic-free path.
The value of getting outside
Access to green spaces and the outdoors has a significant, well-documented impact on our physical and mental health.
The Covid-19 outbreak made clear how important easy access to such spaces is.
It also emphasised that there is more that needs to be done to make sure that everyone, regardless of age or ability, can benefit from amazing green spaces like the National Cycle Network.
Forever Young takes action
Forever Young is a community group of sheltered housing tenants within Renfrewshire.
The group brings residents together to tackle social isolation and loneliness through activities and events.
National Route 7 runs right next to their sheltered housing in Elderslie and became a focus of their activities during lockdown.
Running along an old railway corridor, this traffic-free section of Route 7 is a beautiful and much-loved greenspace right in the middle of this urban landscape.
Forever Young are a group of residents from sheltered housing in Renfrewshire.
Unlocking more than a cycle path
Forever Young previously received support from Sustrans ArtRoots fund for their Poetic Pathways programme.
Tenants shared and recorded memories of their home and community by writing poems and prose.
During this process it became clear that the sheltered housing residents were keen to explore more of the places they remembered along the old railway line.
Unfortunately, mobility issues made this difficult.
Sally Logan, Health and Wellbeing Coordinator at Renfrewshire Council, said:
“Pre Covid, we were able to take residents down onto the National Cycle Network path.
“But then the pandemic hit and their mobility deteriorated.
“We saw the need to get them back out into the fresh air.
“When we read an article about rickshaws in Glasgow Green, we thought this would be an amazing way of getting our tenants back outdoors.”
The purchase of the electric, bike-powered trishaw has allowed the tenants to see places that they haven’t been able to reach for years.
It has broken down many of the mobility barriers that can lead to social isolation.
Reflecting on the experience
At the launch of the trishaw, tenants and volunteers were positive about the impact it was going to have on the community.
A local resident commented:
“There are some there [in the sheltered housing] that don’t get out and this will make a big difference.
“I hope it works because we definitely need something like this up here for the elderly.”
One Forever Young tenant said:
“This is really good – I really enjoyed that.”
Another described their ride on the trishaw as “brilliant”.
Staff and volunteers from Sustrans Scotland, Renfrewshire Council and Own Yer Bike officially launch the new trishaw along National Cycle Network Route 7.
Sally Logan added to the positive responses, saying:
“We have already had some amazing feedback from our tenants.
“They have told us how much fun they had on the trishaw and that they hope to be able to get back out on it soon.
“We are hoping that this will attract more tenants and community groups onto the traffic-free path and are also open to other community groups using the trishaw.
“This project was a dream come true for me.
“I am so grateful that we’ve met and become partners with Sustrans.”
Ros Gibbons, Sustrans Greenways Development Coordinator, added:
“The trishaw project has brought together community groups and people of different generations on the Paisley to Johnstone section of National Cycle Network Route 7.
Members of the Forever Young group explored National Cycle Network Route 7 in Renfrewshire with Own Yer Bike volunteers during the official launch of their new trishaw
A collaborative effort
This project was delivered as part of Sustrans Scottish Greenways on behalf of Forever Young.
The Scottish Greenways Programme, funded by Transport Scotland, promotes walking, wheeling and cycling on traffic-free paths.
We listen to and work with communities to make local routes more attractive, appealing and accessible places for everyone.
Sally Logan from Renfrewshire Council led the Forever Young trishaw project.
The Own Yer Bike community group are responsible for maintaining and cycling the trishaw.