New focus on Danish charity ‘Cycling Without Age’ in Singapore

A senior member holding the virtual reality headset at Jamiyah Nursing Home, on Dec 16, 2020. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Causes Week 2020 runs this year from Dec 20 to 25. It shines a light on various individuals and groups in Singapore, and shows how they are making a difference through their chosen causes within the community.

Since August, Cycling Without Age Singapore, a charity which takes seniors from nursing homes and senior activity centers for trishaw rides have turned to technology, to continue to give the elderly a chance to explore Singapore despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Cycling Without Age was started by Danish social entrepreneur Ole Kassow in Denmark in 2012 and it is now in 35 countries. 

In October 2016, Singapore became the first country in Asia to open a Cycling Without Age chapter when Danish expatriate Pernille Bussone had a free trishaw, given by a Danish university, shipped to Singapore and started taking seniors on joyrides there. 

After Pernille Bussone returned to Denmark, Singaporean social entrepreneur Aaron Yeoh and Danish Marieke Bink carried on the work and in 2018, Cycling Without Age Singapore was registered as a charity. According to general manager Mr Addie Elicano, it now has 10 trishaws sponsored by the Temasek Foundation for its Moving Generations programme.

During the pandemic nursing homes have not permitted visitors and volunteers in order to protect their vulnerable elderly residents so the charity worked with Mind Palace, a social enterprise that develops virtual reality (VR) technology for seniors, to develop a virtual reality trishaw ride. Using a trishaw, they filmed some of the routes the charity used to take seniors on, like those in Admiralty Park, Bishan Park and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Since August more than 80 seniors have had the 10 minute VR ride where they through a VR headset sees the view as though they were actually riding the trishaw.

Source: The Straits Times 

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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