Published: 23rd August 2023
WHEELS FOR ALL ON BELFAST’S MARITIME MILE
The More than a Bike scheme, is sponsored by Maritime Belfast Trust and Sustrans, who have come together with Migrant Help to offer individuals seeking sanctuary in Belfast refurbished bicycles, safety equipment and cycling skills training.
As part of the Sustrans Community Active Travel Programme (CAPT), funded by the Public Health Agency, a six-week training programme was delivered teaching 10 participants cycling skills on a series of led bicycle rides which familiarise them with local cycle routes including the Maritime Mile, and infrastructure. Big Loop Bikes provided the refurbished bicycles.
Maeve Moreland, Destination Manager at Maritime Belfast Trust said, “As the charity that preserves and promotes Belfast’s rich maritime heritage, we are delighted to be working with so many organisations to provide the group with a sustainable method of transport and help build their confidence and skills when cycling the Maritime Mile. We would like to say a massive thank you to all our sponsors, for their support in covering the cost of the refurbished bikes, lights and tools for bike repair. The organisations included Titanic Quarter Limited, Titanic Belfast, Belfast City Airport, Belfast Harbour & Titanic Hotel Belfast. We look forward to seeing the participants exploring more of Belfast’s heritage Waterfront.”
Caroline Bloomfield, Director of Sustrans in Northern Ireland, said: “We work for and with communities, helping them come to life by walking, wheeling and cycling to create healthier places and happier lives for everyone. Across the UK we involve communities in shaping our towns and cities. Together we campaign for and create spaces where everyone can move around safely and give people the tools and confidence to get out of their cars. We inspire people to change the way we all travel every day, forging closer connections with our neighbours and reducing traffic to create a better environment and more sustainable society for everyone.”
Orla Gardiner, Migrant Help’s Northern Ireland Regional Manager, said: “Our clients have often undergone traumatic experiences before finding safety here in Northern Ireland. Schemes such as this are so important, as they support not only physical but also the mental wellbeing of the people we support. Using a bicycle is also a great way for them to begin to get to know – and find their way around – their new home – Belfast. We are grateful to Department of Justice Assets Recovery Scheme for their help with funding, and are delighted to see the positive impact that this project has had on our clients.”
Richard Good, Director of The Turnaround Project, said: “Big Loop Bikes is a Turnaround Project circular-economy enterprise, creating both social and environmental value. Through paid employment, strengths-based coaching and training, we provide opportunities for people who have served sentences in prison or in the community to turn around their futures. Working together with Maritime Belfast Trust, Sustrans and Migrant Help, we are delighted to play our part, enabling more people on their journeys towards healthy, sustainable futures.”