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28/10/2021

Pedal power: 'Kilkenny Kitty' brings joy to callan nursing home residents

Great to see smiles on faces coming back from a spin with the wind in their hair, rosy cheeks and full of stories

KILKENNY

Manager of Mount Carmel Nursing Home Fergus Keane in the saddle as residents enjoy the spin

Residents of Mount Carmel Nursing Home in Callan have been getting to feel the wind in their hair once again, thanks to a new acquisition.

‘Kilkenny Kitty’ went on its first journey in Mount Carmel Nursing Home last week. The residents were overjoyed at the sight of the specially-made ‘trishaw’ bike arriving and enthusiastically queued up for a chance to have a quick trip. The bike will be with Mount Carmel for the next six weeks and has already become a regular sight around Callan.

It’s the result of an initiative by Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership, who were successful in acquiring Sports Capital Funding to assist with the purchase of the trishaw for Kilkenny. After a number of deferrals, and, due to Covid-19, there had been a delay in launching the bike — but now it’s up and running.

‘Cycling Without Age’ is a movement started in Denmark in 2012 by Ole Kassow, who wanted to help older people get back on their bicycles, but had to find a solution to their limited mobility. The answer was a trishaw and he started offering free bike rides to the local nursing home residents. By 2015, the idea had spread to another 50 countries, and currently there are approximately 25 Cycling Without Age trishaws in Ireland.

In keeping with the ethos of Cycling Without Age, the trishaw will help the residents to reconnect with areas they will have lived in, socialised in and raised their families in.

One such journey will be around the newly revamped park areas of Callan, the Moate Field. When this was mentioned, one of the residents of the nursing home said ‘I haven’t been down there for 40 years’.

Many people of a certain generation in Callan would have danced, socialised and attended carnivals at the Moate Field. Kilkenny County Council has recently done substantial work in the park for enjoyment by all in the centre of Callan.

Seamus Nugent of KRSP says that nothing beats witnessing the joy of the older or mobility-impaired people, the pilots and personnel interact on and around the trishaw and seeing the smiles of passengers coming back from their first spin with the wind in their hair, rosy cheeks and full of stories. Other community groups are welcome to borrow the bike. For more details, email seamus@krsp.ie.

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