EVERTON in the Community, in partnership with Socios.com Supports, has officially launched the Socios.com Supports Bike Library based at the charity’s purpose-built mental health and wellbeing hub, The People’s Place.
The bike library was officially declared open for use by British Paralympic Cycling Gold Medallist and Socios.com Supports Ambassador, Dame Sarah Storey DBE, alongside Jonathan Jones and Andy Duff from Everton in the Community, as part of an event attended by a variety of stakeholders including Socios.com personnel and participants from the charity’s ‘Girls on Side’ programme.
Jonathan Jones, Health and Wellbeing Manager at The People’s Place commented:
“The Socios.com Supports Bike Library will be a great addition to The People’s Place and beneficial to all the programmes we deliver across Everton in the Community. As a purpose-built mental health and wellbeing hub, one of our key aims is to increase physical activity levels among our participants to help boost their mental health, and this initiative will allow us to enhance our offering by making cycling more accessible to them.”
Located at The People’s Place, which provides an extensive range of activities to improve mental health, the Socios.com Supports Bike Library will become the latest addition to the facility – providing the charity’s participants (aged 18 and over) with access to bicycles, allowing those who may not be able to own a good quality bike to borrow one for an hour or for a day to enjoy the mental and physical benefits that cycling offers.
Additionally, the bike library initiative will be embedded into any existing health programmes that Everton in the Community currently delivers, including ‘Girls on Side’ – a women’s only mental wellbeing programme. At the launch, Dame Sarah met with participants from ‘Girls on Side’ to talk about their experiences on the programme to date and the importance of physical activity for mental health, before taking part in a spin session at The People’s Place with the women.
Dame Sarah Storey said:
“It’s been fantastic to see the Bike Library here at The People’s Place, it will offer up a whole host of opportunities for the participants who will get to use them. Cycling is a great way to get around and exercise, especially with friends, and you don’t need to be a World Champion to enjoy it or reap the benefits.”
Made possible thanks to its community and social impact initiative, Socios.com Supports, Everton Football Club Partner Socios.com significantly contributed to the running costs of The People’s Place ahead of the opening in March 2023. As part of their commitment to help tackle the social issues that matter the most to their partners’ fans and their communities, Socios.com Supports has worked with the charity to launch the bike library which is now housed there. Riding bicycles is an accessible and inclusive way to exercise and stay fit, but it also helps prevent stress and anxiety, making it an effective vehicle to achieve physical and mental health, which is at the core of Socios.com Supports efforts.
James Newman, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Socios.com, added:
“The People’s Place is effectively tackling the three key pillars that Socios.com Supports focuses on – inclusion, health and employability, hence why we are honoured to be a part of this project and delighted to see it grow. With cycling being such a powerful tool to help prevent health issues and drive mental wellbeing, we trust that the Socios.com Supports Bike Library will further enhance the hub’s offering and its impact on the community.”
Everton in the Community would also like to place its thanks on record to MeCycle, where the bikes for the bike library have been sourced. MeCycle was established by Autism Initiatives, a national charity founded in Merseyside that recycles and refurbishes bikes that have been donated. They also work alongside many local schools and education organisations to create a selection of meaningful supported work placements. Obtaining the bikes from MeCycle is not only environmentally friendly but Everton in the Community will also support their work by enabling young people within the local community who possibly couldn’t afford a bike to enjoy the benefits of cycling.