Pedal power helping to keep community spirit on track

A Chorlton cyclist has been using her people skills and pedal power to support her community during lockdown.

Glynis Francis has created Chorlton Bike Deliveries, a volunteer organisation that offers a green, vehicle-free alternative to support local traders and people in need during COVID-19.

The 66-year old said: “I was part of a group looking at Chorlton’s response to COVID-19.

“We looked for somebody in each street that could set up a WhatsApp group that would allow us to both get information from the street into a central hub and also for us to give out information.”

Manchester Bike Hire and Transport for Greater Manchester have both supported the new scheme by providing cargo bikes, and trailers.

Food from supermarkets is taken to foodbank Emmeline’s Pantry and the scheme also does food deliveries for Tibetan Kitchen, Cracking Good Food and Unicorn Grocery, as well as a new artisan cheese shop Chorlton Cheesemongers, which opened its doors in the middle of lockdown.

Glynis added: “It’s such a pleasure to go to Tibetan Kitchen to pick up about 18 free meals that they are cooking for people in need and deliver them around Whalley Range and Moss Side.

“We get given the addresses, turn up and there are these super grateful people who are having a hot meal given to them. They feel good about what they’re doing, we feel good about delivering it, I feel good about meeting those people. The level of food poverty and the various levels of responses to it locally is just amazing.

“We want to build up a wider sense of support and community. It’s been kind of phenomenal really, the number of people that have been supportive and interested in what we do.”

Glynis, who is a world record holder and World Masters Sprint Champion for track cycling, also founded Team Glow; a women’s cycling group based in Manchester, and has a background in youth and community work.

She added: “Just about all my life I’ve been a community activist in one capacity or another.

“Chorlton Bike Deliveries combines a lot of those community work skills. As I’ve gotten older, I think ‘what am I waiting for?’ If I’ve got ideas and things I can do, then I should do them. Sometimes, I’m really angry at social injustice. And I could be angry, or I could be angry in a positive way and turn that energy into things that contribute to society.

“As an older woman in this environment we can talk ourselves out and think this is for young people, but it’s important to contribute to supporting the younger people who are energetic. Don’t write yourself out just because you’re older. I can get pleasure out of seeing other people step forward and come up with ideas and achieve things. It’s really nice and I think, ‘I’ve helped nurture that.”

For more information on Chorlton Bike Deliveries go to: https://www.facebook.com/chorltonbikedeliveries/

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