Older people will be able to “feel the wind in their hair again” as a cycling scheme is rolled out across the country.
The Cycling Without Age (CWA) project encourages volunteers to take older people for bike rides using specially designed ‘trishaws’ which carry two passengers.
The initative, which originated in Denmark, aims to help socially isolated older people meet others and be physically active.
Following a successful pilot scheme in Falkirk, the Scottish Government is now providing £300,000 to set up the CWA scheme across the country.
Public Health and Sport Minister Aileen Campbell announced the funding during a visit to CWA Scotland at the Kelpies.
She said: “Cycling Without Age started with the simple aim of helping older people feel the wind in their hair again.
“Through the committed action of a few volunteers, the project was brought to Scotland and has made a positive difference to many people’s lives.
“Through this funding, Cycling Without Scotland will work with communities and partners to roll the project out across Scotland in the areas and settings where it will have the most impact.
“We know that physical activity and regular social interaction have huge benefits for both mental and physical well-being and help people in Scotland live longer, healthier lives.”
In the first phase of the roll-out during 2018/19, CWA will be introduced in East Lothian, Falkirk, the Highlands and Islands, Perth and Kinross, and the Scottish Borders, while partnerships for further projects will be agreed in eight other areas.
CWA Scotland executive officer Christine Bell said: “We are delighted the Scottish Government is supporting the need in communities across Scotland for this simple yet powerful initiative.
“In a society with a growing number of elderly people living in care or alone at home, this project addresses many social and well-being concerns.
“The act of two passengers sharing a trishaw, along with the volunteer pilots, creates new relationships and friendships, which has proven to be one of the most valuable aspects of this project.
“Elderly people are brought back into community life, stories are shared and health and well-being improves for everyone involved.”