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We’re delighted to announce that we will be joining forces with Special Olympics Great Britain to help them launched their first ever cycling programme for people with intellectual disabilities.

Everyone at Evans Cycles is passionate about helping people to discover the joy of bike riding, and when Special Olympics GB told us about their plans, we felt it was the perfect scheme for us to get involved with.

The charity is the country’s largest provider of year-round all ability sports training and competition programmes for children and adults with intellectual disabilities (also known as learning disabilities).

We’ll be updating this page as the programme progresses, but for now here are a few answers to questions you might have.

Who do Special Olympics GB work with?

The charity work with people who have intellectual disabilities. This is a life-long mental disability which affects an individual’s ability to communicate effectively, learn new information, and adapt new skills. There are an estimated 1.2million people in Great Britain with learning disabilities.

How beneficial is the work of Special Olympics GB?

The year-round sports coaching and events provided by Special Olympics GB are clinically proven to positively change the quality of lives of the 8,000 registered athletes. Almost 1.2 million people in Great Britain (2% of the population) have intellectual disabilities. Research from Canterbury Christchurch University showed that those who did participate in Special Olympics had a higher self-esteem than those who did not take part. Higher self-esteem leads to more feelings of self-worth and more self-care. Findings also concluded that those involved in Special Olympics had wider social networks and lower stress levels

How will the cycling programme operate?

The project will operate initially through an existing network of clubs run by Cycling Projects called ‘Wheels for All Centres’, and these will be linked to local Special Olympics GB groups. As the scheme becomes more established, new centres will be set up across the UK.

What will the sessions involve?

Sessions will vary depending on the riders ability. All people with an intellectual disability will be given the opportunity to be learn to ride a solo bike or, if they can already ride a bike, to improve their cycling ability. As they progress they will have opportunities to ride take part in Sportives, or to compete at regional, national or international events with Special Olympics.

When will the sessions start and how do I get involved?

First centres will start delivering on the project from January, and at that point details on how to attend will be available from the Special Olympics GB website.

How can customers donate?

Customers can donate at the touch of a button by rounding up their purchases to the nearest pound through the ‘Pennies’ electronic charity box. The option to ‘round up’ will appear when shoppers reach the checkout online, and will be offered when paying via the Contact Centre. This option will be available in store from early 2013, as soon as we’ve update our tills.

Who are Pennies?

The Pennies Foundation has been set up to make giving to charity as easy as the click of a button. They are the automatic version of a ‘charity coin box’ that you can use when paying with a card or electronically. Pennies make sure all of the donation is received by the charity, and the process is totally private, so there is no pressure or commitment to give. More information is available here.

What if I want a refund?

We can refund products you buy from us, provided they are returnable and you are within 28 days. We cannot refund any money donated via Pennies to Special Olympics GB.
This story was last updated on 26/03/2014

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