Leeds support worker in with a sporting chance of winning disability and autism award after setting up cycling group

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A support worker from Leeds who set up a cycling scheme for people with learning disabilities has been shortlisted for a prestigious accolade.

Mac Wontorowski, who works for national learning disability charity Hft, is in the running for the Sporting Chance category of the National Learning Disability and Autism Award. The support worker first started using his passion for cycling to benefit the lives of the people he supports in 2016, when he took on a six-day 475 mile sponsored cycle. He raised more than £1,400 which was used to buy a set of accessible bikes. Along with further funding from Hft, this allowed him to set up a successful cycling group.

The 15-strong group, some of whom couldn’t cycle previously, now meets on a weekly basis and the members have been motivated by Mac’s enthusiasm, commitment and tenacity. Mac was nominated by his employer for the awards, which celebrate excellence in the support provided for people with learning disabilities and aim to pay tribute to those who excel. The winners will be announced at a presentation in Birmingham later this month.

Mac said: “I started the cycling scheme so that people with learning disabilities could have the opportunity to enjoy valuable new experiences. It’s been brilliant to share something I’m so passionate about with the people I support, and to be able to help them to enjoy improved independence and fitness. I’m proud to be one of the people nominated for an award that celebrates the amazing impact sport can have on the lives of people with learning disabilities.”