Cycling UK officer awarded West Midlands Mental Health Commission's Regional Reach Award

Lesley 'thrives' at mental health awards
Lesley at the Thrive Awards 2018
Lesley at the Thrive Awards 2018

Cycling UK officer awarded West Midlands Mental Health Commission's Regional Reach Award

Cycling UK’s Lesley Easter has won a top accolade at the Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards hosted on Wednesday night (Jan 31) by the West Midlands combined authority.

Lesley's work as a Cycling Development Officer has seen her start and grow existing cycle community groups across the West Midlands. Alongside, TfWM, she helps groups work better together so that more people can go out and enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling throughout the West Midlands. This in turn has enabled people to combat their sense of isolation and loneliness.

She took Joan and Janet, two women in their eighties inspired by her efforts to learn to cycle, to the awards where she collected  the Regional Reach Award. 

Sadly the cycling group had all their bikes stolen in November last year, leaving them unable to continue. But thanks to Lesley's tireless media work and determination masses of bikes were subsequently donated to get the group up and running again. Now, Joan and Janet are regularly cycling together and the group is continuing to help more people back into the saddle every day.


Joan and Janet learning to ride

Sean Russell, Implementation Director for the West Midlands Combined Authority Mental Health Commission said:

“Lesley was recognised for her work developing a series of community cycle clubs across the Black Country, bringing people together to increase physical activity and promote wellbeing and good mental health. These weekly cycle clubs attract participants of all ages, welcoming new riders and working with volunteers to run the clubs sustainably in the community.”


Wildside Community Cycle Club

“Our nomination process was designed to work at a borough level but Lesley received multiple nominations across the region that the committee felt it was appropriate to recognise her good work.”

“Lesley has worked tirelessly to ensure that mental health and wellbeing are combined using cycling as a vehicle for increased physical activity. It was testament to her commitment that she brought two riders to the awards night aged 81 and 85 who joined the group despite not having cycled since their late teens.”
 

Lesley has worked tirelessly to ensure that mental health and wellbeing are combined using cycling as a vehicle for increased physical activity. Sean Russell

 

“Lesley is an amazing advocate for Cycling UK and a brilliant example of how individuals in the West Midlands are really making a positive contribution to the health and wellbeing of our region.

Lesley said about the award: “I am proud and honoured to receive this award and hope to see these groups grow from strength to strength.”

She is one of seventeen Cycling Development Officers delivering community cycling programmes across the UK. By working closely with local community cycling groups the officers aim to increase cycling and help tackle issues such as mental health, physical health, isolation, and stress, by using cycling as part of a solution. 

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