Cycling without Age Falkirk
953. Fraser Johnston
Fraser Johnston, from Falkirk, is pioneering a unique approach to tackling social isolation amongst elderly people in his local community by taking them out on bike rides.
20 year old Fraser founded ‘Cycling without Age Falkirk’, leading a team of volunteers who pilot three-wheeled Trishaw bikes giving older people the opportunity to get out into the fresh air and meet passers-by. When Fraser was featured on BBC3’s ‘Amazing Humans’ taking care home resident Mary Duncan out on a Trishaw, the film went viral with over 38 million views in just seven days. He is now rolling the scheme out across the whole of Scotland with financial backing from the Scottish government, providing information about working with nursing home staff, city councils, and cyclists to get new chapters off the ground.
Fraser also co-founded in 2016 the ‘Falkirk Junior Bike Club’, the first ever cycling club for young people in his local area two years ago. The club now has over 100 members and Fraser leads a UKCC Level 1 Coaching Course trial with Scottish Cycling, allowing 14 and 15 year olds to become qualified cycle coaches up to two years earlier than their peers.
As part of the celebrations for the 70th Anniversary of the NHS, volunteers who are making a real difference within the health and care sector are being recognised over seven days by the Prime Minister. Fraser was invited to an NHS70 roundtable and official reception at No.10 Downing Street on the 4th July, where he was presented with his certificate by the Prime Minister.
In a personal letter to Fraser, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS I want to pay tribute to the work you are doing to tackle loneliness and improve the well-being of older people in your community. The innovative ‘Cycling Without Age’ programme is giving elderly Falkirk residents an opportunity to get out in the fresh air, socialise and enjoy a bike ride with you and your volunteers. Now, as the idea is adopted by communities across Scotland, you are inspiring others to make a difference.”
“I’m absolutely delighted to have been recognised by the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award. Cycling is a lifelong passion of mine – from finding ways to help the elderly get back outside and explore their local area on Trishaws through ‘Cycling Without Age’, to getting young people on their bikes, establishing the first ever Club for young people in my hometown, ‘Falkirk Junior Bike Club’. This has grown from nothing in 2016 to now having over 100 riders at our weekly sessions.
“Cycling has a widespread appeal to people from all walks of life, and I’m particularly excited that all of my voluntary work in this area has been recognised in this way. I’ve recently started working for ‘Scottish Cycling’ as a Regional Development Officer across the West and South-West of Scotland, giving me the opportunity to drive forward the future of the sport on a much bigger level that I have ever had before.”