Saoírse’s Trikes “Recycle Mobility Programme” Impact Report
Scientific proof that mobility trikes improve the lives of children with disabilities.
Variety – the Children’s Charity of Ireland are delighted to release information about our “Recycle Mobility Programme” impact report, which shows the positive affects our campaign is having in supplying special mobility trikes for children across Ireland, for both children and their families.
Our “Recycle Mobilty Programme” is the result of the hard work of Variety Ireland and our wonderful and brave child ambassador, Saoírse Ruane, who captured the hearts of the nation when she appeared on The Late Late Toy Show back in 2020, and is seen as the inspiration behind the first ever Toy Show Appeal that managed to raise over €6 million to help various charities in Ireland, according to host Ryan Tubridy.
Dr Jolanta Burke from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland pictured here presenting her report to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte
The report was carried out by well-known and respected Dr Jolanta Burke of The RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, and commissioned by Variety – the Children’s Charity of Ireland, to show the Impact of that special mobility trikes have had on both the physical and mental wellbeing of the children and their families who took part in all the research behind the report.
Variety Ireland’s “Recycle Mobility Programme”, which was launched back in 2021 with the kind support of Minister Anne Rabbitte from the Department of Children, Equality Disability, Integration Youth and Minster for Transport, Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, is designed to help children from across the disability spectrum in contributing financial support towards the cost of special mobility trikes for families with children with disabilities.
Talking about her report, Dr Jolanta from the The RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences commented “As an academic, I am lucky to be involved in many valuable projects. However, rarely do I contribute to causes as wonderful and life-changing as this. Research with Variety showed that trikes improve the wellbeing of children who receive them and their families. It made me realise how a small act of riding a bike, which many of us take for granted, can make such a colossal difference in others’ lives.”
Minister Anne Rabbitte from the Department of Children, Equality Disability, Integration Youth is also delighted with the progress of the Recycle Mobility Programme and commented “It’s been clear to me from day one that the Variety ‘Recycle Mobility Programme’ could have a positive impact on children across the country, which is why I approved funding for the project, along with my ministerial colleague, Eamon Ryan. Such an investment has clearly demonstrated the improvement it can make to children’s wellbeing in all senses, as well as their wider families. Not to mention the positive environmental impact of such a programme, which itself feeds into a more sustainable Ireland.
“Although a seemingly simple initiative, it allows for a more equitable society to be realised for children and families. This was simply common sense for me and I think Saoírse, a fellow Galway girl, really demonstrated the impact such a programme can have and what a difference these trikes can make in someone’s life, particularly with something so many take for granted.”
Supporting Minister Rabbitte’s comments, Minster for Transport, Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan TD said: “This Recycle Mobility Programme from Variety Ireland supports children in discovering the joy of riding a bike and all the health and wellbeing benefits of active travel. It demonstrates the importance of ensuring that all children have access to cycling regardless of their abilities. The nature of this programme whereby the tricycles which are out-grown are passed back to the charity before being upcycled for further use by other families means it is sustainable in every way.”
Read more and download the report here.
Saoírse is Happy so Many Children are Being Helped
Saoírse herself is very excited on the impact her campaign is already having in helping children. She said “ I’m so happy and delighted that the work I’m doing with Variety Ireland is benefiting so many families with children with disabilities. I love cycling and I think every child should be given the chance to experience what it is like regardless of their own ability. It allows them to be included in activities with other family members outside of the home. Doing this in an environmentally friendly way is great as we get to pass on trikes to other children when they have outgrown them. Children with disabilities should be given the same chance as others. My Recycle Mobility Programme has already delivered 40 trikes to children with disabilities with the kind help of Minister Rabbitte and Minister Ryan with lots more children going to benefit in the months and years to come. It promotes fairness and equal access to every child. It’s all about having fun”
A Little Help From Ed Sheeran
Such was the interest in Saoírse’s “Recycle Mobility Programme” renowned musician Ed Sheeran granted his permission for his hit “Galway Girl” to be used free of charge as part of the launch of her “Recycle Mobility Programme” last year.
A Special “Thank You” to Saoírse from Variety Ireland
Commenting on this wonderful initiative, Variety Ireland, said “We at Variety Ireland feel it’s important that the whole county acknowledges the inspirational work that our wonderful child ambassador Saoírse continues to do in helping children with disabilities around Ireland. It’s vital that all the magnificent work Saoírse has been doing quietly in the background to help children with disabilities is recognised.
“Without fuss or any type of hype, she works on this programme with Variety Ireland that not only promotes inclusion and equal access for children living with disabilities in Ireland and their mobility needs, but is doing this in an environmentally friendly way. How clever and kind is Saoírse! “
“Already Saoírse’s hard work has started to pay dividends as not only has her programme managed to deliver 40 special mobility trikes to families with children with disabilities, but has managed to commission the first report ever conducted in Ireland by the wonderful by Dr Jolanta Burke of The RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, on the positive effects our special trikes have on both children’s and their own family’s wellbeing.
“Saoírse is one of the bravest, kindest people we at Variety Ireland have ever had the pleasure to work with. She genuinely wants to help other children and with special thanks to her parents who continue to support her work along with the kind help of both Minister Anne Rabbitte and Minister Eamon Ryan for their involvement in funding this project. This means that so many children with disabilities across Ireland are going to benefit from the experience and freedom of being able to enjoy great outdoor activities with other family members which it itself offers equality and inclusion within the family unit.”
“This is all done is an environmentally and sustainable manner which improves both the mental and physical wellbeing of children and other family members. The fact that trikes that are issued to children are handed back to the charity once they out grow it means we extend the life span of each trike. This not offers huge financial savings in having to buy new trikes each time a child requires one, but also stops old trikes from reaching harmful landfill sites which is bad for the environment.
From Saoírse’s point of view, she has always said she wants to give back to society. We love her and words can’t express just how proud of her, we really are. Just like Saoírse, we echo her sentiments and want to show children that it’s not what you can’t do, but it’s what you can do. Every child deserves to be able to take part in activities that other may take for granted. Even if it’s just to be able to ride a trike for the first time, every child should get to experience a fun filled childhood.”
Helping the Environment
Our “Recycle Mobility Programme” is designed to have many sustainable and environmental benefits. The most important being that all specialised bicycles trikes we give to children with mental or physical disabilities are passed onto another child, once it has been outgrown it. This not only offers substantial financial savings to the charity from having to pay for a new bicycles each time, but also extends the lifespan of each item. This stops old trikes reaching harmful landfill sites across the land which are an environmental risk.
Dr Jolanta Burke’s report which is the first of its kind ever carried out on the effects that mobility trikes have on children’s mental and physical wellbeing in Ireland, also recommends that Variety – the Children’s Charity of Ireland’s “Recycle Mobility Programme” should be considered as partial fulfilment of the Irish government’s strategy for enhancing wellbeing.
Moving the project forward, Dr Jolanta Burke on behalf of The RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and Variety Ireland will be conducting regular ongoing research as part of the programme where families who receive special trikes will update us as part of the research on the impact and benefts they are having on both the child and other family members wellbeing. This helps to ensure that our “Recycle Mobility Programme” addresses the needs of children with mobility issues in the most efficient and cost effective way using research based evidence.
Full details about Saoirse’s “Recycle Mobility Programme” and her wonderful video explaining how it works can be found here.