Darlington Building Society’s gift helps give refugees pedal power

Cycle leader Ibrahim Diallo and Louise Thorpe, of Darlington Building Society, at Albert park before the ride sets off

Published 12 January 2022

Darlington Building Society has donated £1,500 to local charity Inclusive World as part of its 5% Pledge. Inclusive World welcomes and supports asylum seekers in our region.

The Teesside charity promotes wellbeing and social integration for refugees and asylum seekers, who are in danger of becoming isolated.

More people can now take part in their weekly bike ride, using bicycles purchased with the donation.

The bike rides give refugees the chance to explore their new local community. Their mental and physical wellbeing is also boosted, isolation is combated and riders can enjoy open green spaces.

Bini Araia, Inclusive World’s chair of trustees, arrived in the North East twenty years ago as a refugee. He said:

“With a little compassion and support at the beginning, we see people go on to become very productive citizens.

“I’ve been through the same difficulties, but I’ve also seen the incredible contribution that refugees can make.

“We want people to understand that refugees bring value and we care about where we live. We want to contribute to our local area. It’s all about long-term integration and making people feel like part of the community.

“We organise activities such as exercise classes, litter picking, clothing and shoe appeals. There’s also craft and technology classes to help boost social interaction.

“A lot of these people live in shared accommodation. Being stuck inside isn’t good for anyone’s mental health, so these sorts of activities are vital.

“We’re very grateful to Darlington Building Society for their kind donation to our weekly cycle ride. It will let even more people enjoy the beautiful green spaces of  Teesside.”

Louise Thorpe, head of direct distribution for Darlington Building Society, said: “We’re very pleased to support Inclusive World and promote inclusivity and wellbeing for asylum seekers. It’s also fantastic to help them discover some of the beautiful sights our area has to offer.”

The ride takes place every Thursday, and leaves from Albert Park, in Middlesbrough, at 10am. Inclusive World is still appealing for bikes in good working order to expand its cycle programme. Anyone interested in donating one is asked to contact Bini at biniaraia@gmail.com.

For more information about the 5% Pledge visit: www.darlington.co.uk/our-community