The Alloa 500 Cycle Challenge
Our team of volunteers want to set up an annual cycle challenge festival, #TheAlloa500, so that we may carry on and grow the good work we are doing… the struggle has been hard over the last eight years… here is Angela’s story and please sponsor her to test the route and show how wonderful Scotland is for cycling!
My name is Angela and I moved to Clackmannanshire, Scotland nearly twenty years ago and I love it!
As you know, across the UK many communities are experiencing poverty and deprivation and the people of Clackmannanshire have endured harsh decline of industry which has increased the daily fight for survival in many households across ours, the smallest (and oh so beautiful!) county in Scotland.
When I first moved here, I was like any outsider in a new community but what an incredible welcome I received, I got to know people and I found warm hearts and a strong trust developed. I admire deeply the Scottish determination not to give in, to take on the fight and so I founded Resonate in 2010 in a warehouse near the ‘bottom end’ of Alloa. The money that started this journey came from my mum; we had never been rich but when mum had a cancer operation that went wrong and received an insurance pay out, she decided it should be used for good; “start something that helps people feel needed, we all shine when we are needed”. Our community now had a place to come together with no pre-planned aims, no pressures of ‘ticking boxes’ and it was on our terms, it was up to us each and every day. Together, we created an environment to start conversations and began to invent new ways for the positivity to grow… everyone got involved, no matter their age, background or ability and because our community continue to bring so many varied talents, Resonate is a challenging place to explain, for we do a bit of everything! Apparently it is called ‘a person centred whole system approach’… but I like Corries description, “it’s just how communities used to be after the second world war, everyone helping each other, it has heart and is not afraid to show it!”
So to explain a little more, we have taken just 5 aspects of what Resonate does (there are loads more!) and who benefits from the support we share to show why we need to make it self sustainable for generations to come.
When comforting a mum whose 6 year old child has been given antidepressants to cope with childhood trauma; or when listening to a fourteen year old isolated at home with anxiety or when building sculptures with three children, brothers, in foster care waiting to see their mum for their monthly meeting… Resonate supports the person on their journey, when they need it and for as long as they need it. We help them consider the next steps they need to take to grow their strength and resilience. #CommunityTogether
When a 60 year old man spoke to me about his deep sadness at losing his wife and how he faced suicide as the only answer; when a 30 year old mum expressed her devastation at not having the money to buy good clothes for her daughter or when a 50 year old woman sat crying for hours as her mum had forgotten her name because dementia takes so much… Resonate listens to all ages and needs, our volunteers never turn anyone away and we network across our community bringing people together in times of need. #ResourcefulnessShared
Isolation & Loneliness:
No matter your age… to be at home and not speak to a person one day to the next; to be surrounded by family but feel deep loneliness and guilt or to have lost your loved one and wonder why carry on with life… Resonate welcomes everyone, we open our hearts and with kindness we support people to find their purpose and their way forward.
Have you ever felt nervous about meeting new people? Well, if you have lived on your own, are out of work or have little self confidence, then joining a new club, knowing you will need to speak, can be the biggest barrier. So at Resonate we utilise creativity, we have 15 weekly clubs, painting, drawing, pyrography, knitting, sewing, and much more; there is the annual month long Happiness Festival full of free activities everyday for all ages; and hundreds of ways each year that people can come along and start by using their hands to connect with others… Being creative is great for your wellbeing and sharing skills helps us all.
Social Deprivation & Poverty:
Clackmannanshire is high on the list of Scotland’s index of multiple deprivation… but we are not sitting here sorry for ourselves, we are volunteering hard everyday to come up with ways for each person to grow their own life and help our community connect and become more resilient. We are resourceful and we are taking positive action but we need your help…
We rent a building, because we needed a place for people to come to… but that costs £15,000 a year in rent and insurance. The heating, water and bills comes to another £14,000 and it has been a huge struggle every day to pay our bills… we have managed for 8 years (see, that Scottish fighting spirit is incredible!), but it has come at a price of exhaustion for those volunteers involved… so we want to create an annual cycle festival #TheAlloa500 that gives us a yearly income to cover these costs… so that we may start to really be proactive and drive positive community change! #FromSurvivingToStriving
I am going to get on my bike and raise the money we need to make Resonate self sustainable this year… I will test out the route ‘a beautiful 500 mile love heart shape around Scotland’ and see if we can get the support so desperately needed to create a world leading cycle festival that enables our community to not only support ourselves, but other communities across Scotland!
Resonate Together Scotland! :
The Challenge: #TheAlloa500
I will cycle 100 miles a day for five consecutive days. Now at first, that doesn’t sound too much… but the first day takes me from Alloa all the way up the north west of Scotland to Fort William, that’s a LONG WAY!
Then day 2, I will go to the Kyle of Lochalsh, day 3 Elgin, day 4 Montrose and finally back to Alloa. The shape we have chosen is a heart shaped route… for without kindness, our communities are lost forever. I will start my ride on Wednesday 6th June and return on Sunday 10th June, so if you see me passing, do wave!
And you can come with me for I will be filming all the way and mapping my ride… so please sponsor me, tune in and see beautiful Scotland and help our Resonate community fight isolation, deprivation and poverty… together we can do this!! Just look at the impromptu fun we keep having on this journey:
And if I tackle this challenge with half the determination my mum fought dementia, I may just make it…