Hornbeam JoyRiders basked in the media spotlight today, being featured on BBC London News(go to 4 mins 40 secs), ITV London News, and BBC Radio News (go to 1 min 25 secs) as a shining example of one of the 30 local community projects across the capital Transport for London supports through the TfL Cycling Grants London. We were also covered by local media.
Hornbeam JoyRiders has been running since Jan 2017 and has had around 250 participants take part in rides around Waltham Forest (including family bike rides with dads and children), particularly off-road in some of the borough’s most beautiful natural areas. The TfL funding has enabled us to reach out to women and their families in Waltham Forest to help them gain confidence cycling, learn from scratch or brush up their skills and enjoy cycling with a supportive group.
We’ve also recruited and trained 20 Ride Leaders, four women have become instructors and at least at least 50 have been inspired to buy their own bikes. Anyone who doesn’t have access to a bike can hire one of Waltham Forest’s bikes for free on rides and ride with us, including more stable three-wheeler electric-assisted bikes, cargo bikes for carrying children, and specialist bikes for disabled passengers.
TfL is committed to increasing the number of women and diverse groups that cycle, including those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and people with disabilities. Hornbeam JoyRiders has reached out to Muslim women in particular, but women from all backgrounds are welcome.
Cycling Grants London funding particularly helps groups that are traditionally under-represented among those choosing the healthy and sustainable way of travelling. By breaking down the barriers to cycling and making it safer, TfL aims to diversify cycling and make it accessible to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
The other winning projects stretch across London and range from schemes that train young people in bike maintenance, a project that encourages women working in hospitals to cycle, training for young offenders to become bike mechanics, cycling groups for disabled and homeless people and a cycle training and maintenance project for the Hindu Bengali community.
Carolyn Axtell, Hornbeam JoyRiders Founder and Project Lead explained the backround of the project to the TV crews on a ride today at Jubilee Park, Leyton: “Hornbeam JoyRiders aims to empower women through introducing them to the joys of cycling, which can also help to build their confidence in other areas of life.
“I started taking my three kids to school by bike about three years ago and we found that it liberated us as a family. The school run became a pleasure rather than a stressful experience.
“Two years ago I discovered that at least 90 per cent of the other local mums would love to cycle but hadn’t had the opportunity, or had barriers preventing them, such as lack of confidence and not knowing how to cycle. This is why I started organising informal, social bikes rides once a month for women during school hours, and once a month for families and women-only group training for those who couldn’t cycle.
“The Cycling Grants London funding has enabled me to build a strong, ever-expanding network of participants and volunteers, as previously we didn’t have enough Volunteer Ride Leaders to accommodate all of the demand.”
Will Norman, London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner who came to join the JoyRiders today was definitely impressed by our project and explained how he feels projects like these are essential to help broaden the appeal and benefits of cycling: “By giving Londoners of all abilities, ages and backgrounds the confidence to cycle, we can improve their health and quality of life, as well as reducing toxic air pollution, which improves our city for everyone.”
TfL offers free Cycle Skills training to give people of all abilities the chance to improve their confidence on the capital’s roads.
To book free cycle skills training please use this link:
We’re looking for a volunteer to help us book and organise events at The Hornbeam in E17 and our Hornbeam Learning Lodge in E4.
We’d love to have you for around 5 hours a week, working from our office at the Hornbeam Centre (Mon, Tues or Fri), or at the Hornbeam Learning Lodge in Chingford on Thursdays. You’ll need to be good on the phone and on the computer (email, Excel, online booking systems) and be a great organiser. If you also have social media skills that would work well too, but not essential.
This would be particularly suitable for someone who’s already got good contacts in the community with artists, workshop leaders, etc, and could help spread the word about our facilities and venues.
The Hornbeam’s life blood is its amazing volunteers. We are looking for friendly people to help out in our cosy cafe during the week. Could you help?
Volunteer shifts are 12.30-3.30 Tues and Wed.
If you have cafe experience that would be great, but if not, just a friendly and pro-active attitude with lots of passion for good food and some experience with food prep is most important.
By volunteering you’ll be helping this long-standing community space keep its costs low so we can support community initiatives in various ways. You’ll also learn about running a cafe and be in a wonderful, supportive and social place.
Hornbeam JoyRiders supports people to overcome barriers preventing them from cycling, especially women and other groups under-represented in cycling.We started in January 2017 by inviting a few women who lacked confidence in cycling to come on a bike ride, and soon discovered that there is a significant, growing demand for support to help women start cycling.
Increase diversity in cycling by providing support for women, families and groups who are traditionally less likely to cycle
Help women to build their confidence and empower themselves through cycling
Create opportunities for new social connections between different communities
Provide support for all communities to benefit from improved cycling infrastructure in Waltham Forest
Increase access to local green spaces, helping people to explore the Lea Valley, Marshes, Olympic Park and Epping Forest.
We deliver led rides for novice cyclists, organise group training and train up a new generation of Ride Leaders so that we can build a network of groups organising their own led rides in partnership with local schools and organisations.
Through our work with other local initiatives such as Cycle Sisters and Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy’s FECycle Club, we have developed a network of over 80 female cyclists since Spring 2017, most of whom were new to to cycling and are now passionate about cycling!
“Being part of JoyRiders has opened up a large social circle for me, within a community that I would have not otherwise had the opportunity to engage with. It’s benefitted my daughter in her friendships at school, that I’ve been able to understand the culture of their families and engage with their parents. I have meet so many amazing women, that I wouldn’t have been confident to speak with before and I’m grateful to be truly part of the diverse community of Waltham Forest.” Camilla, volunteer Ride Leader
What we’ve achieved:
Ride Leader training for 13 people from ethnic minority/Muslim backgrounds
67 Cycle Skills trainees from ethnic minority communities (predominantly female)
48 women-only led rides with 76 unique participants (Cycle Sisters and Hornbeam JoyRiders)
7 family rides with an additional 88 unique participants
7 ‘Brothers’ rides for Muslim men and children with 20 participants
At least 35 participants/trainees have since bought their own bikes and started cycling independently
National Standards Instructor training for 2 people from ethnic minority/Muslim backgrounds with a 3rd starting work
Establishment of Hornbeam Community Cycling Forum
Women only and family rides are regularly over-subscribed
Weekly women only rides on Tuesdays in term time. All women welcome.
Bikes provided for those who need them (booking required)
Our rides are led by a diverse group of trained female volunteer Ride Leaders from local communities.
Rides start from Leyton Jubilee Park or Low Hall Depot at 9.15am and finish by 12 midday.
Our rides are designed for women to relax, enjoy themselves and take time out from the daily grind. We always stop at a cafe or park for some social time.
Two rides each month are an ideal next step for beginners who have just learned to ride, on quiet off-road scenic routes. Two rides per month are intermediate, on-road rides, ideal for those who can cycle but want to gain confidence on roads by riding in a led group.
Family rides during school holidays, in partnership with Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy.
A chance to build confidence in cycling with your children in a social setting with other families.
Supported by experienced volunteer ride leaders from local communities.
Dads and kids welcome!
Adult and kids bikes available (booking required), limited spaces.
All rides include a long cafe or picnic stop, usually in a park, and make use of local off-road routes.
Rides start and finish at Leyton Jubilee Park around 9.30am and finish by about 2pm.
We also work with Hackney Family Cycling Library and Carry Me Bikes, who loan family cycling equipment for our family rides – see below for details
Cycle Skills training at all levels including complete beginners and on-road training, in partnership with Cycle Confident. We have a growing number of female cycle instructors from local communities who specialise in training women. For more information or to book training please visit https://www.cycleconfident.com/sponsors/waltham-forest/ or
Support to participate in other led rides and cycling activities
We work closely with the award winning Cycle Sisters Muslim women’s cycle group, which rides every Wednesday in term time, usually from Waltham Forest Town Hall. We have supported Cycle Sisters by organising Ride Leader training for some of their regular participants who now regularly lead rides.
We helped to develop Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy’s FECycle Club, which organises regular rides for Muslim parents and families. FECA is a Walthamstow based Islamic Supplementary school.
Waltham Forest Council provides bikes for our cycle training and led rides and through its Cycle Training budget (funding Cycle Skills, Ride Leader and National Standards Instructor an First Aid training) Cycle Confident is our training provider. Training Ride Leaders and Cycling Instructors who are embedded in local communities enables us to reach and recruit people who wouldn’t normally consider cycling or cycle training.
We have teamed up with Carry Me Bikes and Hackney Family Cycling Library, the family cycling experts, who are running outreach sessions in Waltham Forest, loaning out equipment such as trailers, tagalongs and child bike seats and giving advice about how to cycle with young children. They also have some subsidised cargobike loans. Next sessions: Sunday 1st July in Leyton Jubilee Park, Wednesday 25 July in Lloyds Park.
How you can get involved:
Complete our survey about barriers to cycling. This will help us to gain a better insight into the barriers preventing people from cycling and what support is needed to overcome them, as well as providing evidence to help us raise funds for more led rides and training.
Complete our survey for those interested in led rides – when, where, how long, what support do you need to join rides? We hope to raise funds and build capacity to offer more rides, especially at weekends.
Join us on a ride! Booking via eventbrite.
If you are an experienced cyclist, volunteer to support our rides. We particularly need female cyclists who are available on weekdays. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you a Muslim woman with concerns about how to cycle wearing an abaya or jilbab? Read this blog for ‘insider tips on how to cycle in Islamic dress’ by one of our Ride Leaders, or add your own tips in the comments section.
Would you like to cycle but need to learn? Book free training here – or for more information about what to expect from cycle training, email email@example.com
Can you be a Ride Leader?
If you are a competent, experienced cyclist and would like to volunteer to lead rides, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or message us through Facebook.
We particularly need female cyclists available to lead or support rides on weekdays, and both male and female cyclists to help lead family rides in school holidays.
We can also provide Ride Leadership training in partnership with Cycle Confident and Waltham Forest (limited places available).
“ When the opportunity came to join a ride in August 2017 with Fatimah Elizabeth Cates Academy, where I am a teacher, I was really excited and put my name down not knowing what to expect. I had not ridden a bike since I was a child.
“I met Carolyn for the first time at the practice session who recruited a volunteer and a cycle confident instructor to help. I was surprised that as soon as I got on the bike I could ride straight away, by the end of two hours I was riding confidently and so were the other ladies. Everyone was so nice and supportive very patient and extremely kind. We all felt felt confident and entered the family bike ride organised by Hornbeam.
On the actual day it was very sunny and there were fifty of us to ride a short and long route. I had opted for the short route. There was a great atmosphere and I felt really happy and excited to be there. Carolyn’s whole family were there and some volunteers to support us during the bike ride. It was nice to see colleagues, parents and children from the school and my son had come too.
“We all started the ride together it felt really fantastic to be part of a team and a great form of encouragement. We rode through places I had never seen before or knew existed in Waltham Forest. There was lovely greenery and a river, I saw horses and people canoeing. As a driver I could see the cyclists point of view now and it felt good. People were really patient as they waited for us to pass and very friendly. I had chosen to ride the short route but my own enthusiasm and the whole atmosphere convinced me to take the long route. We ended up in the park for a lovely picnic. I felt really relaxed and felt great satisfaction that I had cycled this far. I really did not want this day to end, it was perfect. I felt free and joyous on the bike and it brought back good childhood memories.
“I had such a wonderful time and am so happy that I was given this opportunity and took it. I would say to anyone especially women that you can do it too. If you get the chance just try it. I feel really lucky and it has been a great inspiration to myself as a person. I will now continue to ride whenever the opportunity arises. I would like to say a big thank you to Hornbeam and to FEC Academy for making one of my wishes come true. “
Shenaz, who now rides regularly with Cycle Sisters and JoyRiders and has completed her level 2 (on road) cycle skills training. She hopes to get her own bike next.
We will be celebrating female cycling by profiling the many women riders and supporters of cycling, both within and outside of Cycling UK. The 100 Women in Cycling will be women who inspire others to take up the activity but who may not be well-known by the world at large.
We have launched a Spacehive crowdfunding campaign for the Hornbeam Centre and Hornbeam Nights and would love your help!
We want to continue creating our Hornbeam Nights evening workshops, supper clubs and music events to support our amazing community but need to update our equipment that has, well…. seen better days!
As Charlie who organises our events says: “We want to provide an ethical and sustainable space for creatives, where aspiring musicians, DJs, workshop facilitators, small businesses and chefs, can walk into and feel held and supported not only by just but by decent gear and equipment.
“If you can give a little today into our pot, we will keep on giving in the way the Hornbeam has been doing in many ways for the past 30 years….”
A VERY SPECIAL, COMMUNITY HUB
The Hornbeam is a community anchor, providing space to groups, support and incubation of new ideas, and a point of entry for people wanting to take action. We support people lacking in confidence and skills to set up new social enterprises and community initiatives.
Apple Day is one of Walthamstow’s regular highlights of the year so join us again for another apple-y adventure held in the gorgeous gardens of Vestry House Museum and organised by The Hornbeam Centre and Cafe with partners OrganicLea and Artillery and involving lots of amazing local community organisations.
If you have apples in a tree in your garden please get in touch with Organiclea who can come and pick them for you and make them into apple juice on the day!
Lots of Arts and Crafts for all the family to get involved in too, and music from the delectable Auntie Maureen, Walthamstow’s finest vintage DJ.
Come and taste and buy apples, apple trees, apple juice, cider and cake!
Do apple bobbing, use the vintage apple press to make juice, and try your luck in the longest peel competition.
We need lots of volunteers to help out on the day and it’s a wonderful event to be involved in! Contact us here.
We have so much going on that the support of volunteers is vital to helping us run all the projects that we do.
If you have time or skills you’d like to share or just time and energy and would like to learn some skills, please get in touch!
Volunteer press Liaison Do you have experience or would like to gain it talking to the local and national press and providing them with what they need to create great stories about the amazing work we do? We have so much going on that’s worth letting the media know about we’d love some help. Tell us why you think you’d be good at this here.
Volunteer Photo Editor
Are you familiar with online photography storage? Could you help us create a system to store all our amazing photos in one place and for staff to have easy access to them? If this is your world we’d love to hear from you. Contact Sue at email@example.com More info on the role
Walthamstow Apple Day volunteers
Save the date: 14 October is Apple Day! The Hornbeam and the Learning Lodge will have a stall to tell people about our work and if you are a fan of the Hornbeam and love chatting to people, we’d love to have you join us. Tell us about yourself here.
Join our Social Media Champions Could you help us get the word out about the amazing work we do around the borough on social media? Whether your preferred ‘platform’ is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram we’d love to hear from you. We’d like to recruit a few Social Media Champs so we can share the sharing love. Do spread the word. Message Sue at the Hornbeam on Facebook or Twitter if you’re up for it!
Community Mondays will not be running during August so that our fantastic crew of volunteers and facilitators can have a well-earned break.
There are summer activities both at the Hornbeam, the Lodge and beyond as part of the Food for London project and with other partners. Our partner Kids Kitchen’s family timetable is here and you can see all events on our listings pages.
There will also be some Free Food stalls – Check our Facebook page for up to date details. We have plenty of surplus food to redistribute – do you have a community group that could use some food? Get in touch!
Community Mondays will be back in September with more volunteering opportunities and food rescue! Our programme for September 2017 looks like this (full details will appear on the events listing, and follow us on Facebook for updates
Monday 4th and Monday 18th – People’s Kitchen:
The first and third Community Monday of every month is People’s Kitchen – delicious lunch made from food that would have been wasted. Volunteer from 10am or just come to eat at 1pm – Pay-what-you-feel!
Monday 11th – Makeover Monday:
Join us from 10am and help make the hornbeam ship-shape while learning some basic DIY skills. Makeover Mondays are our opportunity to give the building a much needed lick of paint, spruce up of the plants and tackle general maintenance jobs, such as putting up shelving. Plus volunteer lunch from rescued food!
Monday 25th – Jamming:
Join us from 10am and learn how to make jam from foraged and rescued fruit. Plus volunteer lunch for all jam-makers.
Volunteers are guided through activities by experienced facilitators and have the opportunity to gain AQA accreditation in activities such as cooking, painting/decorating etc.