Small and many is powerful

By Peter Gilheany

The cheerful gentleman on the right in this photo is Robin. He is a resident at Etheldred House, a care home in Histon, Cambridgeshire, where I live.

Robin suffered a brain injury a few years back and now needs care support. He is unusual in that he is resident in the same care home as his mum. He’s a man of strong opinions who loves the great outdoors, something he hasn’t been able to enjoy that much since his injury.

The contraption he is on is a trishaw, a specially designed bicycle for giving people with limited mobility the chance to enjoy the sensation of cycling and feeling the wind in their hair. Every Thursday I take Robin and one of his carers out for a half hour ride around the village and into the countryside. Sometimes that is followed by a ride with one of the other residents, sometimes only Robin fancies it.

The trishaw scheme exists because earlier this year one person saw a similar initiative elsewhere, shared the story on the local Facebook community page and hundreds of people then gave donations to cover the cost of buying one for the village.

Others, including me, then volunteered to put on rides, others volunteered to train us so we could use the trishaw safely and responsibly, still others gave their time and skills to create a home for the bike, to organise a rota ,to promote the scheme in the community,  to keep it maintained.

Lots of people took modest steps to make a difference for people like Robin. Taken in isolation, the commitment and effort from each person was relatively small, but put together something tangible and positive emerged.

It’s all too easy to be daunted by the sheer scale of the challenges we face in our communities and society as a whole, so it is always worth remembering that every act, however small, can make a difference and help us chip away at that daunting block.

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