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The Bing UK blog

January
26

Help Your Britain – Life Cycle UK

This week we’re lending our homepage to small charities with the launch of our ‘Help Your Britain’ campaign, showcasing the work of five small UK charities throughout the week and enabling each cause to tell its own story.

There are more than 187,000 registered charities across Great Britain with a story to be told, many of whom will never be heard due to the lack of resources at their disposal. We’re shining the spotlight on these unsung British heroes as part of a long-term campaign, enabling you, the British public, to nominate the charities you would like to see featured on the homepage on the final Friday of each month via www.bing.com/HelpYourBritain.

Today is the turn of …

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Life Cycle UK is a Bristol-based organisation that aims to inspire people and equip them with the skills, the knowledge and the confidence to make cycling part of their everyday lives. Its projects take cycling and bike-related activities to many diverse groups within the community – from the young to the over 55s, those suffering from mental illness, the visually impaired and inmates at Bristol prison.

These are exciting times at Life Cycle, as we look forward to another year of working to transform people’s lives through cycling.

We are a committed, determined and passionate bunch – made up of a few paid staff and some very skilled freelance cycle instructors and mechanics and not to mention more than 40 committed volunteers.

The Life Cycle approach is to work with individuals and communities to “grow” projects. We believe a slow, steady approach is more effective than throwing resources at something and hoping it will fly. An example is our Two’s Company project which was started on a wing and a prayer in 2007 with a few thousand pounds. Four years on, it is going strong and giving more than 50 disabled adults and children regular opportunities to experience freedom, fresh air and pure joy simply by coming cycling on the back of a tandem.

The success of Two’s Company inspired us to look at how we could spread the goodness and support other marginalised people through cycling. Over the last three years we have developed a range of “inclusive” cycling projects, all of which we will run again in 2012. They include:

BikeBack - a partnership between ourselves and Bristol Prison to help prisoners gain mechanical skills and transferable employment skills through the refurbishment of old bicycles.

Silver Cyclists - helping older people to keep active, independent and preventing them from getting isolated by bringing them together for fun, sociable rides followed by tea and cake.

Bike Minded - aims to lift the spirits of people suffering from mental health illness and support them to become more independent and less isolated through cycling.

A quote from one of our participants really sums up the Life Cycle approach and ethos:

“The ride was fantastic. I felt so good about myself at the end.

I thought I’d never be able to have such an opportunity again”

- Virginia, visually impaired tandem rider

<a href="http://video.uk.msn.com/?mkt=en-gb&amp;vid=67881c7b-0a37-46f4-91e9-7edcac318e57&amp;from=&amp;src=v5:embed::" target="_new" title="Life Cycle UK">Video: Life Cycle UK</a>

We’re really looking forward to making our projects bigger and better in 2012. However, as many small charities are finding at the moment, things are tough out there and we face a constant battle to raise the funds to keep our work going. Love what we’re doing? Then please help us to do more, with more people, more often…. by making a donation towards our work. Our projects don’t cost much to run and a small donation really can make a BIG difference!

Thank you for your time and support.

The Life Cycle Team

It’s been an eye-opening and heart-warming week and we’d like to thank each charity for their hard work and for helping us make this an extra special week for the Bing team. However, this is only the beginning of the Help Your Britain Campaign. We want you to nominate your local charities or causes that are close to your heart. Leave a comment, tweet us or send a carrier pigeon. We’re open to all suggestions and a new charity will be featured on our homepage on the last Friday of each month.

For more information about this week’s charities be sure to have a look here: www.bing.com/HelpYourBritain

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