Published: 15th May 2024 Images: Scottish Cycling

Scottish Cycling’s mental health initiative #BikeAndBlether opens for new cohort

Scottish Cycling is delighted to announce the continuation of the #BikeAndBlether programme, aimed at offering greater mental health support to clubs and individuals.

Following the out-and-out success of the pilot programme, where eight volunteers from across Scotland committed to becoming Mental Wellbeing Champions in their clubs and groups, Scottish Cycling is taking the next step to expand the #BikeAndBlether programme.

We are looking for volunteers who would like to be part of the programme to deliver #BikeAndBlether rides within their club or group to help support people’s mental wellbeing. We know that one in four people suffer from mental wellbeing issues, so it is vitally important that we help to create a welcoming space in our clubs and groups to support those impacted. It is important to note that as a #BikeAndBlether Champion, you are not expected to become a mental health expert but are there to listen and signpost to appropriate places of support to those who need it.

In partnership with Scottish Action for Mental Health (SAMH), who will deliver a series of mental health information sessions, we will develop the knowledge and understanding of #BikeAndBlether Champions, to help break down barriers and reduce the stigma of having conversations about mental health and wellbeing. An exciting link for the next phase of the programme will also be to link in some of the newly trained individuals with the Rock Up & Ride-Communities sites, wherever we can.

Robert Nesbitt, Head of Physical Activity and Sport at SAMH (Scottish Action for Mental Health), said: “We are delighted to once again be partnering with Scottish Cycling on the next cohort of the Bike & Blether programme, creating even more opportunities to support people with their mental health and develop the next group of Mental Wellbeing Champions from the cycling community in Scotland.

“We are excited to build on the impact of our partnership work so far, which has seen the first group of Champions doing terrific work within their communities.  Through the Bike & Blether programme, mental health and wellbeing becomes a central part of activities, resulting in safe and supportive rides that can offer us all a boost when we most need it. We are looking forward to giving more people the confidence and skills to help their own and other’s mental health and wellbeing through the power of the bike.”

We know that being active isn’t just good for our physical health; it’s also proven to have a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing. Cycling can therefore play an important role in improving both the mental and physical health of all those who take part.

Colin Hutchison, one of the #BikeAndBlether Champions who was involved in the pilot programme, tells us “Whatever your age and cycling experience, we all have mental health.  Delivered by Scottish Cycling and SAMH, #BikeAndBlether is a brilliant programme. As a mountain bike leader, I’ve found the training invaluable to manage those conversations and issues around mental health and wellbeing that can arise on and off the bike. Hopefully more leaders and coaches will consider the benefits of training to be a #BikeAndBlether Champion to help keep the wheels turning on this fantastic project.”

If you are interested in becoming a #BikeAndBlether Champion or would like some more information on the programme please complete the Expression of Interest form at the link below, or contact Julie Harris at [email protected]

#BikeAndBlether Champions Expression of Interest Form