As part of GL events’ social value initiative, 2023 has seen the business work in partnership with an inspirational charity called Common Wheel. As part of their delivery of Overlay to the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, GL events has sponsored places for people who are struggling with their mental health in the local area to participate in several of the successful projects that they run.
One of the most popular workshops they run is a Build Your Own Bike course where participants learn how to rebuild an old bike into something they can ride away and keep for themselves. The programme opened its doors to participants in 2001 and has had a positive and lasting effect on the local community ever since.
Each course lasts 10 weeks, and is run by one of Common Wheel’s dedicated bike engineers, Steven and Neil. The aim of these workshops is to provide those with mental illness a meaningful activity, learning a skill and working alongside their peers. The social interaction can have a positive impact on their recovery and assist them in their integration back into society. Following the end of the Build a Bike programme, participants can continue to benefit from the support of the team at Common Wheel by participating in guided bike rides across Glasgow – again providing structured social interaction with a supportive peer group as well as the opportunity for some physical exercise in the great outdoors, with its proven mental health benefits.
Group activities like a social value initiative run by Common Wheel provide opportunities for individuals to engage with others who share similar interests, reducing feelings of isolation and fostering a sense of belonging.
Many of the participants are referred to the Build a Bike programme by a mental health professional or support worker, and the activity often plays a key role in their recovery.
There is a wealth of evidence that shows the significant advantages that engaging in regular physical activity has for both mental and physical health. By promoting opportunities for individuals who might be struggling, to partake in activities like riding a bike or interacting with others, they not only experience the physical benefits of the activity but also gain a sense of accomplishment and improved self-esteem, further aiding their mental well-being.
This social value initiative can often be a stepping stone in helping participating clients move on to get a job, re-engage in education, or even become volunteers themselves after participating in the programme. Participants have the opportunity to stay within the programme for as long as they would like, ensuring that this support lifeline can offer a lasting benefit and play its part in long term social integration. Whether individuals stay for just one course or end up staying for years, the volunteers at Common Wheel are there to support the local community whenever they are needed.
Following a high level of demand for the Build Your Own Bike workshops, Common Wheel began to run out of places to offer to participants at their Maryhill workshop. This led them to open an additional workshop in the Bridgeton area of Glasgow in 2006. Opening the additional workshop has allowed Common Wheel to expand their offering even further and make its workshops more accessible across the Glasgow region . This has had a really positive effect on the local community as there is now more room for Common Wheel to provide support to a wider range of people.
There are plenty of ways for you to help support the good work that Common Wheel is doing. If volunteering to help run workshops sounds like something you’d be interested in, and you are based in the Glasgow area, you can visit: https://commonwheel.site/wp/volunteer/. There are opportunities available to volunteer in their music workshops as well as the climbing and carnival clubs.
You can also donate to the organisation wherever you are located. You can do this via their Wonderful Payments page or PayPal, where 100% of contributions go directly to the charity. Click here to learn more: https://commonwheel.site/wp/support-us/donations/.
If you would prefer to donate another way, you can always donate your old bike! Common Wheel accepts bike donations in any condition. If your bike isn’t used for the Build Your Own Bike workshop, it will be reconditioned and sold on in order to further support the charity.