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The Cycle and Stride for Active Lives scheme is now well underway, with 32 different community groups across Greater Manchester working to help people become more active through walking and cycling.

The TfGM initiative, which has been made possible by a £1 million grant from The London Marathon Charitable Trust, has now entered its second year and has welcomed a diverse range of people and groups from across Greater Manchester, including children from disadvantaged communities and people from ethnically diverse communities.

The three-year programme seeks to reach 10,000 people across communities that are least likely to be active or to walk or cycle their journeys.

Richard Nickson, Programme Director for Cycling and Walking at TfGM, said: “Everyone should be able to access cycling and walking in a way that works for them, and this scheme provides a real opportunity to make sure everyone has the access and support they need to get active.

“So far, people have found a range of individual benefits from getting involved in their local Cycle and Stride for Active Lives group including improved health and fitness, meeting new people and gaining confidence.

“The scheme is a great step in the right direction to help make Greater Manchester become a true walking and cycling city-region and help us to achieve our targets of one million more sustainable journeys taken daily by 2040.”

Cycle and Stride for Active Lives have been working with the groups to understand their members’ specific needs and the barriers that prevent them from being more active in their daily lives. The team produces plans which deliver help and solutions to create long term, sustainable changes. This includes a range of support via cycle training and led walks, enabling local champions to become cycling and walking leaders, and offering grants for access to bikes, cycle parking and other facilities.

In addition, a bespoke Leaders’ Programme offering ensures that individuals have the tools to develop skills that will help their social enterprise develop with topics such as funding, outreach and marketing covered.  

One of the groups funded by the project, The Sunnywood Project, a non-profit arts and nature education provider in Bury, will be using the funding to encourage people to get outdoors to boost their physical and mental wellbeing.

Sammy Deas, Director from The Sunnywood Project, said: “With thanks to Cycle and Stride, we are incredibly excited to now be in a position to build on our success to reach even more people and continue to promote the benefits of embracing the outdoors for our physical and mental wellbeing. We hope you can join us on our next adventure.”

Another community group, Tameside Women’s Community Cycling Group (TWCCG), has used the funding to help women gain confidence cycling through cycle training and bike maintenance sessions – as well as providing group social rides.

Atchara Khonglim from Tameside Women’s Community Cycling Group said: “What’s been truly amazing about the scheme is the brilliant and friendly support we’ve received from the Cycle and Stride team. As well as funding towards the group’s development, we’re also receiving valuable professional training services.  This has been fantastic for us as we have ambitious growth plans.”

Deirdre Cole, Grants Officer at The London Marathon Charitable Trust, said: “The Cycle and Stride for Active Lives programme is helping to break down barriers to physical activity so that more people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds have opportunities to get active through walking and cycling.

“The Trust’s mission is to inspire activity, and some fantastic projects have already been supported through the Cycle and Stride for Active Lives programme that do just that! We’re looking forward to building on this and funding more projects that encourage activity, supporting the health and wellbeing of local communities across Greater Manchester.”

For further information about Cycle and Stride for Active Lives and how you can get involved, please visit activetravel.tfgm.com/cycle-and-stride/.  

TfGM also offers free or subsidised cycle training whether it’s for those who are learning how to ride a bike for the first time to those who want one-to-one training on cycling their commute or brush up on their bike maintenance skills. Find out more at:  https://activetravel.tfgm.com/cycling/courses-and-bike-maintenance/