Why our work matters

Walk and cycle with us into a healthy, green and kind future!

We enable York residents of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle as the natural way to get around York, while improving wellbeing, community life, green spaces, and tackling inequalities and the climate and nature crises.

Our holistic work generates multiple benefits for individuals, the community and the environment in York. We join up and tackle some of today’s biggest issues. Our integration in the York community and inclusive approach enables us to successfully reach groups more likely to be marginalised. We enable residents to adopt long-term, sustainable and enjoyable lifestyles, and develop everyday resilience in a challenging world.

Our plan for achieving these positive outcomes is outlined in the York Bike Belles CIC Strategy 2020 – 2025. We have also set out below how our work aligns to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and some of the evidence of the need for and benefits of our work.

Have a read!

We improve health and wellbeing

Good Health and Wellbeing is a United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal.

We have a positive impact on the physical and mental health of York residents of all ages and abilities by enabling more people to walk and cycle outdoors in green spaces, to connect with the natural world, and with other people in their community and to adopt active, outdoor lifestyles.

We improve the wellbeing of York residents by embedding the Five Ways to Wellbeing pathway on our activities – being active, connecting with others, taking notice of the environment, keeping learning, and giving something back.

Evidence of need and benefits:

  • Mental health and wellbeing have worsened during the pandemic (Public Health November 2020).
  • There is now a significant body of evidence of the multiple physical and mental health benefits of walking and cycling. You can read about it here. And also of the wellbeing benefits of time spent in green spaces and connecting with nature, more here.
  • Research shows that the ‘marginalised’ groups we prioritise are more likely to experience mental health issues, and so have greater need of support to improve their mental wellbeing. This includes elder care home residents, refugees and people on lower incomes.

We tackle inequalities

Reduced Inequalities and Gender Equality are two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Ageing has been identified as one of the biggest global issues.

We tackle inequalities by prioritising work with groups underrepresented in walking, cycling and physical activity, who can often be marginalised, isolated and vulnerable. This includes women and girls, older people (aged 60+), the elder community (aged 80+), those with low wellbeing, health conditions and disabilities and those on lower incomes. We are developing work with young people (aged 11 – 25) and BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) groups.

Evidence of need:

  • Three times as many men cycle as women, and 85% of women in the UK never ride (Cycling UK).
  • People with health conditions are more likely to be inactive than those without (Sport England).
  • We have an ageing population and 49% of over 75’s are inactive (Sport England). There are 1.4 million chronically lonely older people in England (Age UK).

We help tackle the climate and nature crisis

Climate Action and Life on Land are two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

We help tackle the climate crisis by encouraging York residents to walk and cycle more and reduce their car use. Fewer vehicles on the roads also reduces air pollution around the city.

We help tackle the nature crisis by connecting York residents to nature as part of a walking and cycling lifestyle, and enabling them to look after and enhance the biodiversity of York’s green spaces.

Evidence of need and benefits:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from road transport make up about a fifth of the UK’s total emissions that contribute to climate change (ONS 2019).
  • Connecting with nature has been found to increase positive nature conservation behaviours (Finding Nature 2020).

York Bike Belles is an award-winning charitable organisation, incorporated as a not for profit Community Interest Company. Walk and cycle with us into a healthy, green and kind future!