29 January 2021 Transport and roads

Active travel project supports women and children escaping domestic violence

A project which has been supporting women and children fleeing domestic abuse and violence in Brighton & Hove is now looking for the help of local residents.

The council’s Access Fund for Sustainable Travel team, working in partnership with Cranks, Sustrans and RISE, has been reconnecting women and children with the joy of cycling by supplying bikes and training to those staying in a city refuge.

The project has helped to build confidence and empowerment in both the women and children, as well as supporting them to get around the city and reduce travel costs.

We are now looking for people to donate their unwanted bikes so we can reservice them and use them to continue the project at the refuge. If you could help, please email lucy.dance@sustrans.org.uk

Among those who have been helped by the project:

  • A mother who was given support to help teach her six-year-old to ride for the first time. 
  • Two women who had been scared to ride bikes after bad experiences learning to ride previously. Both now have bikes and one is aiming to go on bike rides with her 12-year-old son in the spring, who rides his bike to school every day.

One of the women said “I can’t afford the bus fare to the beach and it’s too far to walk, I’m so excited I can now ride there.”

Joy, freedom and confidence

Sustrans Bike It Officer Lucy Dance said: “The joy the women and children experience on a bike is amazing and so important in lives full of trauma, abuse and uncertainty. There were always smiles and cheering in my sessions.

“The independence a bike brings is key for the women living in RISE’s refuge. We’ve found it’s helped them develop their confidence while starting to rebuild their lives and given them an affordable way to travel around the city.”

Nicola Davies, Fundraising & Communication Manager at RISE said “Moving into a refuge can be one of the most frightening things a woman has to do. We’d like to thank Brighton & Hove City Council, Cranks and Sustrans for bringing the joy of riding to our residents, helping them build their confidence and giving them a way of exploring the city.”

An inspiring project supporting the city’s women and children

Amy Heley, Chair of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee, said: “This is a truly inspiring project helping women and children fleeing horrific domestic abuse and violence.

“Being able to enjoy the freedom of riding a bike and the feelings of empowerment that can bring is something we should all be able to enjoy. Not only does it bring joy and confidence to those who need it, but also physical and mental health and financial benefits.

“I would ask our residents that if they are able to donate a bike, to do so.” 

More information

Active Fund for Sustainable Transport

Cranks Bikes Brighton

Sustrans

RISE

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