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Trail Therapy and the Endura Lifecycle Trust

So ten months into the programme and we are excited to be partnering with the Endura Lifecycle Trust to further support and develop our new Trail Therapy Leaders and volunteers from NHS Lanarkshire. This awesome facility is enabling us to deliver more progressive sessions to participants and of course, upskill our Trail Therapy Leaders.

Trail Therapy and Endura Lifecycle Trust

Trail Therapy - what is it?

Our Trail Therapy programme, is a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and looks to share the joys and obtainable challenges of mountain biking with folks who have an existing mental health diagnosis. The goal is also to help the individuals involved grow in confidence, improve social interactions, establish skills of self-regulation and accelerate their road to well-being benefitting them not only on the trails but in their everyday lives too!

We use volunteers to support various groups and sessions. We currently operate in Tayside and Lanarkshire. The groups are mixed and comprise of self-referrals, referrals from NHS mental health professionals and organisations who support people to maintain positive mental health strategies.

Our volunteers are also mixed in terms of abilities and qualifications, some are L3 leaders and others are embarking upon the leadership pathway – all have a passion for mountain biking and a real commitment to supporting others on their mental health recovery journeys.

What is the Endura Lifecycle Trust?

The Endura Lifecycle Trust's Stirlingshire-based facility caters for all skill levels with its pump track, trails and dual slalom course. It is perfect for Trail Therapy, providing a safe and quiet environment, and is used to support not just us but other organisations who work with kids or adults with particular challenges.

It is a charitable trust with the sole purpose of facilitating access to biking for those most challenged in our community. Endura believes passionately in the therapeutic effects of the great outdoors and, in particular, cycling, and that getting folks involved in cycling not only provides exhilaration but can be a fantastic catalyst for positive change.

TT Vols Comrie Croft 070821

How does it work: Our FLOW Therapy

We use FLOW - all mountain bikers know that feeling of flow, so we use FLOW to help give us a framework to measure the improvement in participants' wellbeing.

It is an acronym for the following:

F=Focus/mindfulness, bring present in the moment. We use trails and features in conjunction with being in nature and noticing where we are and how we feel to help take us away from those stresses and anxieties present in our everyday lives.

L=Learning new skills improves confidence and self-esteem. Developing our MTB skills is part of the learning journey. We also help clients manage and understand their emotions, how to regulate these emotions and apply this into the decision-making process. This supports dynamic risk assessing, ultimately staying safe while challenging themselves and being open to the many unexpected events that can happen.

O=Others helps us to be part of a supportive and inclusive community where mountain biking is the common bond encouraging (but not forcing) that connection with other like-minded people. Folk with mental health issues tend to self-isolate and the imposed C19 isolation measures have exacerbated that loneliness for a lot of people. We aim to improve people’s confidence and esteem to be part of networks where folk can enjoy new pursuits and open themselves up to receiving and giving support.

W=Well-being, this is a sense of how we are at a given point in time. Well-being is dynamic and can change depending upon people’s physical fitness and mental health. We aim to improve people’s well-being by using the above and measuring this using, as one tool, the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale WEMWBS.

If this has sparked your interest in pursuing a leadership qualification and/or volunteering with the MTB TT Project, then please get in touch below.

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