Edinburgh Christmas: Care home residents given festive elf rides around capital thanks to Joy Rides Edinburgh's Lissa McIntyre

Care home residents in Edinburgh have been getting into the Christmas spirit with help from a cheery elf and her electric bike.

By George Mair
Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 7:03 am

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Lissa McIntyre has been bringing joy to care home residents by taking them on rides around the capital dressed as one of Santa's helpers.

The 45-year-old uses a trishaw - a customised electric bike that carries up to two passengers in front - to carry people no longer able to cycle independently about the capital.

Lissa McIntyre with Cramond Residence resident Richard Hislop (83) and grandson Jefferson (7)

The former youth worker's business Joy Rides Edinburgh helps people combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, improve their health and wellbeing, and makes them visible in their community.

And over Christmas, she's adding further fun by doing it dressed as an elf and playing Christmas tunes from the back of Betsy, her bike.

Self-employed Lissa said: "I take older people who live in care homes or who are isolated in their own homes out on my trishaw in their local area. We use the city's cycle network to go to places like Cramond, Inverleith Park, the Meadows and Granton.

"Some of my passengers haven't been out of their homes for weeks so it's a fun thing to do. People smile and wave as we go past and it gives them a great boost -- and it's great for my health and wellbeing too.

"Dressing as an elf is extra fun for the older people and also for young children who I take out -- everyone loves to see an elf."

Michael Hall, lifestyle coordinator at Cramond Residence, one of Edinburgh's leading care homes for the elderly, said: "Our residents love getting outdoors, and Lissa goes all out, dressing as an elf with Christmas songs coming out the back.

"A lot of our residents have mobility issues but with Lissa they can just sit and enjoy the ride while Lissa does all the work. She's brilliant."

Yvonne Hislop, 76, whose husband Richard, 83, and seven year old grandson Jefferson shared a ride together, said: "They loved it -- they're desperate to do it again.

"Richard hasn't been out for a couple of months so it was lovely, and when my grandson saw her dressed up as an elf, he was all excited."

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