Getting your own wheels
This information aims to help individuals considering buying a cycle as a mobility aid
Know what you want / need
We suggest you consider a range of options before buying, to ensure that you choose a cycle that will be most useful for you, that will last and continue to meet your needs.
Support from Wheels for Wellbeing
We have a dedicated Fundraising Development Officer who will be pleased to assist where possible with personal fundraising. Should you require further advice following please get in touch. We may be able to provide further information on grant providers, fundraising platforms and making appropriate contacts.
Local social services and local cycling schemes
If you are eligible for community care services you may receive a Personal Budget through your local council. Please contact your local authority’s social services department for more information.
If eligible (based on your local authority’s assessment of personal need), you will need to demonstrate that having a cycle will enable you to live independently and enhance your quality of life. Personal budgets are means tested and the local authority systems will need to be satisfied that a cycle will suitably benefit you as an individual and meet your needs.
Cycle to Work Scheme
If you are currently in employment you may be able to purchase a tax-free cycle through your employer (if you are a PAYE employee) and spread the cost:
Contact your employer’s Cycle to Work scheme representative. Visit your cycle shop and get a quote for the items you want, you may need to ask if they stock or can source your desired cycle e.g. tricycle, handcycle, recumbent.
London Borough Schemes
Some London boroughs have their own schemes to encourage active travel through cycling, these can provide an opportunity to borrow a test cycle without an obligation to purchase and may be able to provide a discount for a purchase. Check with your local authority sustainable travel team to find out what is available in your area. An example is the ‘Try before you Bike’ scheme in Lambeth.
Applying for a grant is an option for those who do not feel they can fund the full purchase of an adapted cycle. There are many grant-giving organisations within the UK so it’s important to target the ones most likely to make you an award.
A charity associated with your impairment or long term health condition is the best contact point to start your funding search. They will understand your needs better than most and may even be able to help you make an application.
There are many grant-giving organisations in the UK, you should ensure that you read all guidance carefully and assess whether an application would be appropriate. It is a good idea to phone or email an organisation in advance of making an application, to check that your request is within their remit.
Grant providers usually require evidence of need before they will approve an application for grant. It is helpful to include a letter or information from a professional such as a physiotherapist, detailing the benefits that a cycle would bring. Benefits might be improving your physical fitness, enhancing your mental wellbeing, improving your social life, making everyday journeys easier and enabling you to live more independently.
Some starting points for finding a grant provider are listed below
Turn2us helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help:
Family Fund is the UK’s largest provider of grants to low-income families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people:
Disability Grants directory:
Also consider contacting your local Rotary Club:
And Lions Club:
If the cycle is for a child try Variety Club Children’s Charity:
Your current or former employer to find out if there is a benevolent fund for your profession
There are a number of methods both old and new that you can try to raise funds to help you fund a cycle purchase. In the current climate of social networking and online interaction, individual funds and causes have previously gone viral and surpassed required targets.
There are opportunities for quick online fundraising through Crowdfunding, set your cause and target and let people back it.
Go Fund Me is recommended by a cyclist who was able to raise over £2000 to buy their own recumbent trike.
Tree of Hope will help coordinate and promote online fundraising by / for individuals:
There are lots of other traditional ways of raising funds at home, at work, with friends and through simple methods such as a bake sale, a sweepstake or by throwing a party.
Individual offline fundraising could be a great way to raise contributions towards a cycle purchase as you can personally engage with your networks of friends, family and colleagues and they can really feel a part of your fundraising process.
You should not have to pay VAT if your cycle is adapted disabled users. Even if a regular bicycle could be a useful mobility aid for you, have a chat to the manufacturer or cycle shop to explore whether a simple adaptation would be beneficial to you and whether your cycle would meet the criteria for “qualifying products or services for VAT exemption for disabled people”.
Further information is available at:
We welcome your comments and experiences so that we can keep this information up to date. Please contact us with any further information you may have.