Meet the Tower Hamlets Communities Driving Change grantees: Cycle Saathi

| No responses | Theme: Health & Wellbeing, Places, Work with Communities

We are halfway through our Communities Driving Change Grant Scheme, an initiative to make funding accessible for local residents to get their community projects off the ground. The Communities Driving Change programme is part of Tower Hamlets Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy. It is best described as a way of doing public health differently, one that starts with what matters to local people and taking a bottom-up approach in supporting people and services to create change in their communities. All projects that have been awarded funding via our grant scheme:

  • Are designed, planned and run by local people
  • Involve a diverse range of people
  • Take a creative approach to supporting people during Covid-19
  • Align with Communities Driving Change’s core areas of work, which includes community safety, opportunities for young people, support for parents and families, access to community spaces, and digital skills and inclusion. 

Since the grants were awarded in December, we have seen exciting ideas from local residents take life as fully formed community projects. As we reach halfway through the scheme, we will begin to share highlights of the various projects over the course of the summer in a blog series. And we’re kicking off by introducing the exciting community cycling initiative that we have supported: Cycle Saathi.

About Cycle Saathi
The title of this project translates to ‘companion’ in many South Asian languages including Hindi, Bengali and Urdu. It was named by the residents leading this project which aims to make cycling more accessible for BAME women in the local area and help improve physical and mental wellbeing.  The funding will provide training for Ride Leaders in running cycling groups safely, as well as the bikes, storage, maintenance, and insurance needed alongside it.

As recent lockdown measures have eased, the project has steadily picked up pace and Alea, the local resident leading the initiative, has now secured the indefinite use of the Collingwood Hall shed. This shed will be used to store the bikes which will be purchased for the scheme, and subsequently be an asset for the local community to use, enjoy, share and learn.


Volunteer Alea getting the keys to the Collingwood Hall bike shed, which will be used indefinitely for storage of the community bikes.

So far, the CDC team have had meetings with various bike suppliers to ascertain the type and requirements of the bikes that will be bought, and Alea has signed up to LBTH Bike Works for free cycling lessons at Victoria Park alongside some residents. They will be upskilling their competency before enrolling on a Ride Leader course as they prepare to launch the initiative.

Stay tuned for further updates on our Communities Driving Change programme. You can read more about it and see how to get involved here.

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