Velocity is an Inverness social enterprise which promotes cycling as a way of helping people adopt healthier lifestyles, encourage sustainable travel and improve emotional well-being. Funded by the European Social Fund as part of the Social Investment Fund, the ‘Bespoked’ project aimed to develop and test an innovative outreach service to address the mental well-being needs of vulnerable groups such as people with enduring mental health conditions. By delivering cycling sessions in familiar, safe places within the community and tailoring the groups to specific needs, Velocity wanted to address disadvantage and extend the well-being benefits of their original ‘Cycle to Health’ initiative to a wider range of people. Aiming to overcome barriers to participation, the project focused on developing an effective and workable model to market to the NHS and the Third Sector as a social prescribing intervention. The cycling project was developed in the context of the increasing recognition of the link between physical activity and mental well-being which is currently reflected in Scottish Government policy including its Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027. The UHI evaluation aimed to determine the efficacy of the intervention, to gauge the range and level of any positive or negative impacts and to make recommendations for its further development as a social prescribing model. The research team conducted qualitative interviews with participants and associated support workers to determine the effect of these groups on health and well-being as well as to explore factors for success, barriers and potential improvements. In total 35 people out of 52 active participants from the 14 cycling groups, delivered to 12 different organisations, have taken part in the evaluation as well as 12 support staff. Working in partnership with Velocity and taking an action research approach allowed feedback from participants to shape the intervention.
|Publication status||Unpublished - 15 May 2020|