100th Grant Awarded To Charlotte’s Tandems

The Steve Morgan Foundation has reached a milestone of awarding its 100thEnable grant for specialised equipment, to another hugely deserving cause.

A grant of £1,500 has been awarded to the Cheshire/North Wales branch of Charlotte’s Tandems for the purchase of a new, hand-built tandem bicycle, which will allow people with a disability or learning need to enjoy the thrill, and exercise, of cycling.

The charity began with founders Alex and Kate Reeves, whose own experiences prompted them to set up Charlotte’s Tandems.

Brian MacDonald, a volunteer with the charity who covers the Cheshire area, explains more:

“The charity was started by Alex and Kate, tandem riders themselves, following their experience with their daughter, Charlotte,” says Brian.

“Charlotte is severely autistic and did not communicate at all.

“When she was about 13, they put her on the back of a tandem and suddenly her whole disposition changed, literally in that first ride.

“Her life was pretty much transformed, and Alex and Kate then thought that if that could happen to Charlotte, it just might happen for other people as well.

“They purchased another tandem, then people started to donate them, and it all grew from there.

“They then advertised for helpers about seven years ago, and I was one of those who responded and am now the longest serving volunteer helper, running the Cheshire base for Charlotte’s Tandems.”

From those small beginnings, the charity is now the biggest providers of tandem bikes in the country, owning over 100 tandems across the British Isles.

All are available to borrow, free of charge, by young people and adults with disabilities or learning needs.

“Tandems offer the opportunity for families to enjoy activities together and, hopefully, the charity plays a major role in helping people to do that,” adds Brian.

“We have been short of quality, long-distance touring tandems, and that is why we are so delighted and appreciative of this particular donation from the Steve Morgan Foundation.

“To be honest, I am not sure we have ever had a donation of this magnitude from anyone – it is by far the biggest we have received in north west England,so it is quite something for us.”

The official handover of the tandem took place at Carden Park today with Jane Harris, from the Steve Morgan Foundation, presenting the bike to Brian, and Ben Darby.

Ben, who suffers with a visual impairment, is set to be the first borrower of the tandem, which Brian describes as going from a Ford Escort to a Maserati in terms of speed and comfort!

Jane says it was a pleasure to provide the Enable grant for the new, robust tandem.

“Charlotte’s Tandems do a fantastic job in helping people of all ages with learning difficulties or disabilities to get themselves out and about and enjoying some healthy exercise,” says Jane.

“The charity caters for a wide spectrum of disabilities, including people who are visually impaired, deaf, autistic, suffering from spina bifida, cerebral palsy or spinal injuries.

“So far they have lent tandems, free of charge, to over 100 people from across the Cheshire area, aged between four and 86.

“Our funding will help the charity to purchase a tandem suitable for longer distances, and hopefully allow Charlotte’s Tandems more flexibility in being able to grant the many requests they receive from the local community.

“It is also a significant milestone for us at the Steve Morgan Foundation, in being the 100thEnable grant that we have awarded.

“Our Enable grants are there for people of all ages who are in need of specialised equipment, and this, our 100thgrant, shows the variety of equipment that we have funded.

“We look forward to delivering many more Enable grants to help people in the future.”

  • Visit the Enable section of the website to find out if we can help you with a grant, or give us a call on (01829) 782808.

More news