Rowshan’s story

“I’ve been so inspired and now cycling is central to my life”

Themes: mental health; exercise; community development; arts

Rowshan is a lifelong Tower Hamlets resident. She is a determined woman with a strong spirit who fights hard to make a good life for her family that includes her five children aged from 7 to 22.

In 2015 she lost her beloved Mum to cancer which left her bereft, without the loving support she had been able to rely on and caused her issues with her mental health.

Her friend, who noticed how low she had become, introduced her to Communities Driving Change (CDC), a community development programme run by the Bromley by Bow Centre and funded by Tower Hamlets Public Health.

“I was persuaded to help with a community cook and eat group” she said, “they soon had me involved with shopping, preparation and cooking. We made roast chicken curry, dhal and pillau and danced to music as we worked. Every single scrap was eaten by our Old Ford Road community including many people who are used to eating alone.

This inspired me to get involved with more CDC projects and I completed and passed a cycle maintenance course and through this I managed to acquire my bike with lock and lights for free! That’s where it all began for me, I’m now hooked on cycling. During a CDC Community Voting Day event, my proposed project of a women’s cycling group achieved funding that helped provide rented bikes for those who didn’t own them.”

Rowshan becamethe leader of a women’s cycle group that has empowered participants to get back on their bicycles (sometimes for the first time since childhood), giving them confidence to ride around their local area.

She also joined the Monday cycling group at View Tube and Cycle Sisters would like her to be part of their Sunday group (childcare permitting). Rowshan has raised money for Cancer Research and Alzheimer’s Society through cycling fundraisers and she took part in the Ride on Challenge to help raise funds for the Centre.

And if this wasn’t enough, she completed a charity walk for Lonely Orphans in September, helped organise a gardening session for the local Children’s Centre and a community Fun day at Butley Court, E3 with over 200 residents in attendance. She went out of her way to get gifts for the volunteers and their children who helped on the day.

Rowshan has also joined our Creative Communities project. She is an active member and attends weekly creative skill sessions at the Centre and participated in our ‘Art for wellbeing’ workshops with our partners at Chisenhale Art Studios for five weeks. She is keen to learn and introduce her children more to art.

“In the future I would love to volunteer to run a children’s cycle group or an art group and take on some more challenges of my own” she said “Being outside or being creative with others is the best way to lift yourself!”

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