Published: 18 March 2013
British Cycling Olympic Academy riders and staff made a special visit to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital last Thursday to meet patients and staff.
The visit had been organised by Jo Harrison – Performance Lifestyle advisor for British Cycling’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, as part of a wider project around creating personal development opportunities for Academy riders on our programme.
“This visit is part of a wider project which is aimed at broadening the life experiences and personal development opportunities within our Olympic Academy programme,” Harrison explained.
“Doing something constructive alongside training and racing offers the potential for riders to re-focus and recharge the batteries which can have a positive effect on their performance.
“The ability to step outside the world class cycling world and do something positive for others less fortunate than ourselves provides a real boost to the riders’ personal well-being, helping them to gain better perspective in their own lives, encouraging them to make the best of their opportunities on Academy.”
The hospital, a centre of excellence for paediatric care, offers specialist treatment for children across the region from as far north as Cumbria, down to Stoke and across to North Wales, and provides care for over 185,000 children and young people each year.
A selection of Great Britain track and BMX cyclists, aged 18-21, made the trip and spent time on wards 78 and 84 which treat children with cancer and blood disorders in addition to children who may have had a road traffic accident, issues with their bones/spine and neuro conditions.
Great Britain track sprinter Callum Skinner said: “The work that Royal Manchester Children's Hospital is doing is inspirational. It’s a fantastic facility that makes kids comfortable through difficult times.
“Being an athlete can be selfish at times and this visit is part of a project set up by our performance lifestyle team, giving us the opportunity to give something back to others.”
Located in Manchester City Centre, it is now the largest single-site children’s hospital in the UK.
The hospital’s facilities include the main bone marrow transplant unit for metabolic disease outside London and both the largest specialist burns and paediatric intensive care units in the country.
Great Britain BMX rider Kyle Evans commented: “It was a pleasure to visit the children at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital today.
“I know the kids in the ward get a lift from these types of visits and it was great to go and see them this afternoon. It's very tough, but at the same time it's inspiring to see how strong the kids and their parents are.”
Speaking after the visit, Harrison added: “The feedback from the children’s hospital with regards to our visit has been overwhelmingly positive, the children really enjoyed meeting and speaking with the riders. I was very proud of the Academy riders who came along; they conducted themselves very professionally and engaged with the children brilliantly.
"They were great ambassadors for the sport of cycling and I’m looking forward to the other visits and experiences we have in the pipeline.”
To find out more about how to support the work of Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital visit www.rmchcharity.org.uk or call 0161 276 4522.