toggle menu
Inspiring heroes are everywhere - Inspiring Scotland


The latest articles and ideas from Inspiring Scotland and our partners.


Inspiring heroes are everywhere

A local project that began with a spot of bicycle tinkering has changed lives and inspired a community, says Celia Tennant in The Scotsman

Now the rush of finish lines crossed and the jubilation of medals won has subsided, a couple of stories from the Rio Olympics which did the rounds on social media have really stuck with me.

There is a photograph of Laura Trott meeting Sir Bradley Wiggins when she was 12 after he had just won gold at the Athens Olympics – 12 years on she is the UK’s most successful female Olympian, having pedalled her way to four gold medals in London and Rio.

There was a similar story about Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling who met his hero, and most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps when he was 13. Schooling went on to beat Phelps in the 100m butterfly in the Rio pool, taking home Singapore’s only medal and setting an Olympic record in the process.

What I love about these stories is not just the personal dedication and determination they show – two young people moved to drive themselves to greatness by the greatness of others – but the potential for people to inspire each other; to unlock potential in one another and bring out the best.

Of course,not everyone has the opportunity to meet their heroes. But that is not to say great things cannot be achieved by the most ordinary of connections, in the most familiar of places.

Take the Gallatown Bike Hub in Kirkcaldy, for example. The hub began with a few teenagers learning and teaching each other bike maintenance. The group then began offering to repair people’s bikes from around the community, and, after a donation of 20 bikes from local people, the group began lending and giving bikes out around the neighbourhood and organising trips and community bike rides.

Fast forward nearly four years and the Bike Hub is a fully fledged social enterprise servicing and repairing bikes for the community, and selling recycled and refurbished ones. It still regularly organises rides and meet-ups, teaches people maintenance skills and has created a growing network of cycling enthusiasts throughout Gallatown and beyond. All this has happened because a few local people met at a youth club.

The teenagers who set up the Bike Hub did so with the help of Shuggy Hughes from Kirkcaldy YMCA. Shuggy is part of Link Up, a programme run by Inspiring Scotland to build connections across communities in Scotland. He was also involved in setting up the youth groups in Gallatown where the teenagers met and has helped local folk to run cookery and computer classes, gardening groups, a thriving community cafe and a fruit and veg co-op. But he can’t (and wouldn’t) take all the credit.

Link Up is about supporting people to get together in their communities and create their own groups and social activities – doing things they want, the way they want to do them. Communities come together, participate, get to know each other and inspire each other to realise their, and their community’s, potential.

As Shuggy says: “It costs absolutely hee-haw to get involved in the Bike Hub, which breaks down one of the biggest barriers to participation in ‘so-called’ deprived communities. Local folk can come along and get their bike fixed, learn how to fix their own bike, ride their bike, borrow a bike and even build a bike to keep. We’ve helped build over 300 bikes for free with local folk over the past four years.

“The real beauty of Link Up is that communities aren’t being defined by an index of deprivation stats – it’s all about the cakes they bake, the friends they make, the bikes they fix, the quilts they crochet and the lives they change. The Gallatown Bike Hub is just a small part of the emerging Scottish Index of Multiple Aspirations.”

At the heart of the Bike Hub is something really simple: local people – friends, neighbours, strangers – getting together and starting something, helping each other to achieve, grow, learn and find purpose, encouraging each other to build something great together. And, who knows, maybe the next cycling gold medallist will hail from Gallatown, inspired to greatness by a trip down to the Bike Hub.

To find out more follow Link Up on Facebook and Twitter @LinkUpScotland

Funding available for community groups to develop local ecosystem restoration projects

Funding available for community groups to develop local ecosystem restoration projects

The Neighbourhood Ecosystem Fund launched today (Wednesday 22nd May 2023) to enable community-led project groups in Scotland to design and deliver local nature restoration projects. The aim of the Neighbourhood Ecosystem Fund is to help communities develop their ideas for nature restoration into a pipeline of deliverable projects with a whole ecosystem approach. Funding will

Read More
Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support fund open for applications

Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support fund open for applications

A fund to support survivors of childhood abuse is now open for applications from third sector organisations.   The new phase of the Scottish Government’s Survivors of Childhood Abuse Support (SOCAS) fund will invest in services supporting adults affected by childhood abuse, so they can enjoy a safe and healthy life, with improved wellbeing.  The purpose

Read More
Perinatal and Infant Mental Health fund open for applications

Perinatal and Infant Mental Health fund open for applications

A fund to support perinatal infant mental health and parents is open for applications from third sector organisations and services.   Following on from work the Scottish Government’s previous Perinatal and Infant Mental Health fund, the new phase is open to third sector organisations who support babies, parents and carers affected by, or at risk, of

Read More