Cycling for freedom and independence from domestic abuse.

6 May 2021

Last week, IDAS launched their first ever guided cycle for people who have been supported by the local domestic abuse service in the Harrogate area. The ride is to be the first of many which is part of a larger project to increase feelings of freedom, confidence and independence following domestic abuse and to promote the benefits of physical activity for Women and Children living in emergency refuge accommodation escaping domestic violence.

IDAS received a grant from North Yorkshire Sport, through the Tackling Inequalities Fund, to tackle the impact of physical inactivity caused by the pandemic. Working in partnership with North Yorkshire Sport’s, Partnership Manager Damien Smith, and Harrogate Resettlement and Community Engagement Officer, Julie Halford, a Cycling Project was developed, reaching out to women and children being supported through IDAS.

The funding has enabled IDAS to purchase a fleet of bicycles, including helmets and bike locks, working in partnership with Resurrection bikes and local cycle suppliers. This fleet of bikes will ensure that the project can be sustained benefiting IDAS clients and contributing to feelings of freedom and independence for years to come.

In addition to the bikes, the funding will pay for a guide to lead a cycle and offer support to build confidence and reduce social isolation. Furthermore, the equipment and funding will ensure that young people living in refuge can benefit from cycling lessons whilst also providing a means of transport for residents. It is hoped that the rides will include refuge residents, IDAS clients in the community and those who have moved on into their own homes to support them in their new lives and building links with the community. The project has been supported by Ride the Struggle (event organisers), Chevin Cycles (equipment providers), Resurrection Bikes (cycle providers).

Julie says of the project:

As restrictions became more stringent, we noticed the negative impact on many of our client’s mental health. It was clear that not being able to access fitness or social classes was having a detrimental impact.

We have seen a large number of clients feeling isolated due to the pandemic for over a year now, but it is great to finally get out and about using pedal power and seeing the positive impact physical exercise has on both our physical, social and mental health.


Anonymous IDAS Client:

Thank you for the invite for the bike ride today…I did a lot of moaning, but I did it I actually surprised myself so much the old me would of given up when it was getting hard. I am proud of us all and deffo padded pants next time, it wasn’t that heavy but it’s just a basic bike, just remember it’s just one more corner – see you on the next one.

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