Alan is 56 years old and is trained as a professional sound engineer and is educated to degree level but he has dyscalculia, a form of dyslexia which makes it difficult to decipher numbers and perform in exams.
During his last employment at a supermarket, he lost entitlement to working tax credits and became homeless for over a year, although he still continued to work.
He was referred to the Works Better employment programme by Halifax Job CentrePlus. The Works Better team provided mentoring and bespoke support to help him look for work that matched his skills and experience.
It was when Alan attended one of the training courses delivered by the Works Better team he heard about the City Connect Cycles project. The course offers three levels of training from people who have never ridden a bike, to improvers, and an advanced course for confident riders who want to tackle busier roads for a faster commute to work. Together with this, as Alan was unemployed when enrolling on the City Connect Cycles project, he was able to receive a free bike at the end of the training course. Alan will use this to be able to commute to the bus driver training he has recently started to attend with Arriva.
When asked how the bike will benefit him, Alan said; "The bike means a lot to me because I’ve come to a strange place. It’s a beautiful place with amazing scenery and all I had was a little folding bike with no gears. Now I’m able to move around, go to job interviews and meetings, and get up the hills around here."
"I will use it to travel to the bus driver training, and if I get the job I’ll be using it to commute to the job in Elland, around 3.5 miles from here. It will be a great commute – a bit of road and then along the canal – on route 66 - that made me smile."
I finished level 2 (CityConnect Cycles) training last week and picked up this bike. It’s a hybrid, a lovely metallic blue with a rack and mudguards, which is important for cycling to work. The training gives you the confidence to know what the right thing is to do and adjust to each situation, indicating to other people the most you possibly can."
"I’ve always liked cycling. There are lots of physical and mental benefits and it’s also good for motivation. If it wasn’t for the bike I’d just be stuck at home watching telly and on those occasions when I do need to go out, having a bike means I can get there much more comfortably, so I don’t have to rely on bus fares. It saves you a massive amount of cash on transport or fuel. If I get this job, it will cost a fiver a day on transport, and that adds up. It’s also much more convenient.”