Submitted by catherine.cashmore on Mon, 03/20/2023 - 11:11

At the start of lockdown, the Reverend Barry Forde needed a new bike to help him get around the city for work.

When a friend in ministry told him about Clergy Support Trust, he applied for a Wellbeing Grant so that not only could he afford a new bike for the commute, but also new bikes for his wife and son, so they could exercise together and enjoy quality family time.

Bikes for the family

The Grants and Services Officer I spoke to on the phone made me feel at ease and encouraged me to make an application. We got the grant, and I was able to go to the shop on the first day it reopened after lockdown.

If the money hadn’t been there from Clergy Support Trust, there’s no way I would’ve been able to just go in and buy them.  We used the bikes throughout that summer as a family, it was fantastic. I couldn’t get my head around that the Trust existed to help clergy families in this way.

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Barry, standing by his green bike, dressed in black.

It's been good for my soul

In winter, my workload tends to be intense and it’s difficult to get out on my bike when it’s dark and the roads are wet. I was thinking of saving up for a turbo trainer so I could use my bike indoors.

Then my wife needed to have surgery and was off her feet for three months, so staying close to home became ever more important, especially with two kids in secondary school.

I contacted Clergy Support Trust again to see whether they could help me to fast track my plans to have an indoor cycling set-up. As I had not had a Wellbeing Grant that year, I was encouraged to apply.

With the support of the Trust, I was able to get the equipment which was above and beyond what I might’ve been able to get myself.

It’s a trainer that mimics different roads around the world, so when you go uphill it raises the bike. It beats the boredom of just sitting in one position. It’s difficult for an indoor trainer to have the same effect as getting outdoors, but for me it makes me work up a sweat and get rid of whatever is going on in my head.

Most importantly, it meant that I wasn’t away for an hour in the day worried about what was happening back home. I could stay active, clear my head and have that benefit here in the house. It’s been good for my soul.

Making things possible

Life in the diocese is busy again and finding time to get out can be difficult. Having something that I can just jump on in the house and keep my fitness up during winter is fantastic.

We’ve been really blessed by the fact that the Trust exists and the ease with which we’ve been able to get support. It has made possible the things we wanted to do, but felt that we couldn’t stretch to. My family now has bikes and I have the indoor equipment, and none of these things were here before.

We’ve found that the Trust and the people who work there are nothing other than fully supportive and that’s been phenomenal.

If you're serving or retired Anglican clergy or in their household, and you would benefit from similar support to Barry:

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