7 December 2016: Staff and students from the University of Canberra are helping elderly Canberrans rediscover their zest for the outdoors as part of the Cycling Without Age initiative.
Led by the Embassy of Denmark, the project has been designed to help elderly and less-able people get back out into their communities.
The University is encouraging students and staff to become volunteers in this program by training to become a “pilot” and provide free rides around Belconnen to the residents of the IRT Kangara Waters Lifestyle Community, based close to the campus.
Cycling Without Age first launched in Denmark in 2012 and involves the use of the Danish-designed ‘trishaw’ bike. The concept has been rolled out in 25 countries and was made possible in Canberra thanks to a $20,000 community grant from the IRT Foundation.
University of Canberra dean of the Faculty of Heath Diane Gibson said she was proud to see the University partner with the IRT Foundation, Pedal Power ACT and the Embassy of Denmark on the community initiative.
“The University of Canberra is a university of and for Canberra. We always seek to engage and support the local community,” Professor Gibson said.
“This is just one more example of the way in which our students and staff engage with the local community when given the opportunity. We are in talks with the other partners and we’re looking at a variety of ways in which the University community can be involved in this project.”
Apart from training as volunteers, Professor Gibson said there was scope for students to be involved in other ways in the future. She listed examples such as sports management students helping to organise rosters and media students documenting the development of the project.
Associate Dean of partnerships and engagement Stuart Semple said students may be able to research how beneficial the initiative is for participants in the future.
“The organisers are really looking for some data to demonstrate why the Cycling Without Age project is so valuable,” Dr Semple said.
“Anecdotally people say, ‘This is great, residents love it’, but they don’t have actual data showing how it can impact on residents’ lives.”
The Cycling Without Age program, launched on 30 November, is expected to commence at IRT Kangara Waters this month.
For more information or to become a volunteer please contact Pedal Power ACT Vice President Jeff Ibbotson on email@example.com.