A little girl from Chester has been out on family bike rides every weekend since receiving a charity grant for an adapted trike.
Isla Francis’ parents say their daughter, 10, has been riding around Hoole spreading much-needed joy; waving and speaking to everyone she passes.
The Chester family has been able to go on bike rides together for the first time with Isla’s trike, which can attach onto the back of another bike.
Sociable Isla, who mum says has a great smile, has ADHD, autism, complex learning difficulties and a rare genetic condition called IQSEC2.
Isla’s condition affects her balance and her cognitive learning skills and she is not able to ride a bike independently.
During lockdown Isla’s mum, Kate, said their family was craving going out and doing something together. Before receiving the trike Isla’s parents would be limited to just taking Isla’s seven-year-old little sister, Phoebe, out on bike rides.
The specialised equipment costing over £700, which Chester-based children’s charity Children Today partnering with the Rotary Club of Chester fully funded, has allowed the family to spend quality time together out in the fresh air - giving everyone’s mental and physical health a big boost in a time when they need it the most.
The Mission Piggyback trike has made a big impact in a short space of time and Isla’s parents have already seen their little girl’s confidence flourish. Mum says: “She’s usually a weary, stand-offish and quite nervous girl but now she’s always asking to go out on her trike - she gets really excited and happy.
“We’ve got a trike we adapted ourselves which has got stabilisers on it. Since having the trike she’s been trying to go on that.
“I think experiencing being on her new trike has really spurred her on to want to try other things and push herself more.”
Kate explained how, before the trike, there weren’t many opportunities for exercise in Isla’s life as she cannot walk to school and instead is picked up and dropped off at home.
Little Isla has been giving pedalling a “good go” on her new equipment and Kate believes there is hope that Isla’s trike, which is set to last her into adulthood, may one day help her to cycle independently.
Along with encouraging Isla to use her leg muscles, the trike has been inspiring the little girl to go outside for exercise and to connect with people in her area. Kate adds: “Isla absolutely loves the trike and she’s becoming quite a cycling legend along the Chester Greenway!
“It’s the first time that we have ever been able to cycle together as a family. Because there’s so much we can’t do, being able to all go out together during lockdown has been brilliant.
“A huge thanks to Children Today and the Rotary Club of Chester for funding this for her, we really do appreciate it. It’s brought a lot of joy to everyone.”
Emma Prescott, Charity Director of Children Today, says: “Isla’s story is just one of many examples of how the adapted equipment we help fund can have a truly life-changing impact on not just an individual, but their loved ones too.
“This specialised trike has unlocked lots of new exciting opportunities for Isla and her family to spend quality time together. The possibility of this little girl being able to cycle on her own one day, thanks to this equipment, is truly amazing.
“As a small charity, which is entirely on voluntary donations, we are always welcoming contributions. No matter how big or small, each donation makes a big difference to the lives of children and young people, like Isla, living with disabilities across the UK. Thank you”
If you would like to support Children Today or are interested in applying for a grant please visitwww.childrentoday.org.uk or call 01244 335622.
- Children Today was founded in 1994 and provides children and young people with disabilities up to the age of 25 with specialised equipment to help them enjoy a better quality of life and greater independence.
- Relying entirely on voluntary donations, Children Today provides grants to buy specialised equipment such as individually adapted electric wheelchairs, walking aids, trikes, adapted car seats and more.
- Registered Charity No. 1137436
Pictured - Isla and her family have been able to go on bike rides all together for the first time. (Photo credit - Kate Francis)