Our innovative Recovery Riders initiative has been recognised by both the Nursing Times Awards and Nursing Journal Awards and countless service users have benefited from exercising in the fresh air and gaining confidence.

This Mental Health Week one man has spoken about how the Recovery Riders project helped improve his mental health.

Andrew Chapman from Longridge was an impatient at our Scarisbrick unit at Ormskirk hospital two years ago and now credits the bike rides with helping him to recover.

Andrew struggles with anxiety and is now treated by our Community Mental Health Team. He said:

“While I was on the ward a couple of years ago going out cycling with some of the nurses really boosted my mood and confidence. The first time I went on Recovery Riders ride we cycled 13 miles!

When I was discharged I was much fitter – before I was admitted I had a bike but had never ridden that far. It helped me release my pent up energy and the fact they had faith in me riding a bike made a difference to me and my recovery, it was brilliant.”

The Recovery Riders initiative was the brainchild of nurses at our Scarisbrick unit in Ormskirk. Recognising the positive connection between exercise and mental wellbeing, they sourced reclaimed bikes from Lancashire Police and secured input from Unison and Halfords to provide equipment and clothing.

Last year Nursing Times judges described our Recovery Riders project as “a genuine grassroots initiative, which has had a profound impact on service user outcomes.”

Modern Matron at Ormskirk, Rebekah Nwaka, said:

“We worked collaboratively to co-produce the Recovery Riders project with our service users and local community providers. Our inpatients tell us they feel empowered riding around the countryside – it’s their project that they own and it makes not only a difference to their mental health but also their physical health. I’m so proud of our team. Recovery Riders aids the sleep of service users and reduces the need for excess medication. They tell us it makes a difference to their lives and recovery.”