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Lottery funding making cycling accessible to all

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Having suffered a brain haemorrhage when he was just nine-years-old, Tomas Evans has had a life filled of hospital visits and feeling profoundly unwell, but cycling has always been his form of escape.

So, when he set up inclusive cycling club Active Wheels in Merthyr Tydfil in 2018, it was Tomas’ way of helping others to experience his love of cycling too.

Tomas’ ambitions have been well supported by the National Lottery, with the club receiving two separate grants during the last couple of years from Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund, which uses Lottery funding.

The grants – which total £16,842 – have helped to pay for e-bikes, regular bikes, a storage container and various items of safety equipment including lights, helmets, locks and hi vis vests.

Tomas said: "Active Wheels caters for riders who feel that existing mainstream clubs are a little bit too much for them to join in with." 

Led by volunteers, Active Wheels meet for a short ride on Saturdays, a longer scenic ride on Sundays, and they also offer one-to-one track sessions at Aber Taf High School. 

All of the club’s rides and sessions are tailored to different abilities, and fun is always the priority, as Tomas adds:  "There is a strong focus on the social element and we always schedule stops at cafes along the routes! All of our rides are determined by the ability of the group and we ride together – it’s all about making people feel confident and comfortable.” 

Many Active Wheels members cycling outdoors
A group ride with Active Wheels
Tomos Evans cycling
Tomos Evans

Club Chair Phil Lewis, who has played a key role in helping to develop the club since he first became involved three years ago, said: "We are really grateful for the funding we’ve received from Sport Wales and the National Lottery, as well as the support we’ve had from Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council since we began.

“We are passionate about creating opportunities for everyone to enjoy cycling. Everyone is welcome at our club. Around 10% of our riders are people with a disability or diagnosed mental health condition.

“Riders can choose to bring their own bikes or, thanks to Lottery funding, they have the option of borrowing our bikes as well as safety equipment.”

Phil on his bike
Phil Lewis, Club Chair

 

If you have great ideas which could help more people in your local community to become active, the Be Active Wales Fund could support you too. Grants between £300 and £50,000 are available for not-for-profit clubs and community organisations to apply for. 

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