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The best therapy life has to offer!

Cycul is a social enterprise organising social cycle events that encourage participation through grass roots engagement. They work with a number of organisations delivering social cycling events providing a safe neutral environment for all ages, genders and backgrounds.

Cycul partnered with Paul Donaghy Pharmacy to apply for a BCPP Level 1 grant of £2,500 to work with a group of 12 men, women and older people around social isolation and physical wellbeing – all issues which were compounded by the pandemic.  The aim of the project was to provide a positive social platform for addressing social isolation in a neutral caring environment. Due to the pandemic and the associated shielding and caring responsibilities, many people lost social confidence to engage in external social activities. Financial deprivation also had an impact on social activities with many furloughed and some having lost their jobs. The BCPP project planned to address this, giving participants the opportunity to engage as a collective group through tasks and team building exercises over a virtual cup of tea!

The session on health and wellbeing was helpful re watching out for signs of diabetes and stroke. The section on strengthening your core muscles is something that I have been doing since the project ended as my balance isn’t the best – also the breathing exercises.’

Dymphna, Project Participant

Using Zoom, Paul Donaghy Pharmacist led on four sessions. One session was around Balance for Injury Prevention informing the group that falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide and giving them some exercises to help with their balance. Paul also delivered sessions on the advantages of deep breathing exercises, walking benefits and the importance of cycling and how this can help sleep and syncronise our circadian rhythms. Breakout rooms within Zoom were used so that people had some private space to talk openly about difficulties/ worries with one or two group members rather than the whole group. Sharing concerns and opening up to each other happened organically as the group members became comfortable with each other and built up trust.

I really enjoyed our Zoom meetings – the information presented by Paul was interesting, informative and useful. Lovely to see friends again – a lifeline in the pandemic for many.’

Mary, Project Participant

One of the participants, Rita, expressed her view saying the sessions were ‘very informative and touched on many common illnesses and remedies’ and she would now be living a healthier life by including exercising and a healthier diet. Eugene Hamill, Cycul felt the BCPP programme allowed the group to deliver a series of interesting and enjoyable health related topics with Pharmacist Paul Donaghy. Eugene said ‘We made meaningful and lasting connections with many of the participants who took part in the sessions and this, in itself, is the best therapy life has to offer.’

It was my pleasure to team up with Cycul and deliver this series of talks on various aspects of physical and mental health. Although this BCPP programme was delivered through Zoom at the height of the pandemic, the guys at Cycul managed to create a warm friendly atmosphere where everyone felt comfortable enough to engage in a Q&A at the end of each session.I found this was very rewarding as it helped all of us through what was a very challenging time in our lives.’

Paul Donaghy, Pharmacist