A VISUALLY impaired student has been given the confidence to get back on her bike thanks to a local cycling club.

Raeesa Jaffer lost her confidence after being involved in a cycling accident years ago which shook her so much so that she vowed not to ride again.

The 18-year-old was born with nystagmus, a condition which causes her eyes to move involuntarily, impairing her vision.

Blackburn Cycling Club, which aims to encourage people to take up the sport, convinced Raeesa to give cycling another chance.

Raeesa can now ride accompanied by cycling club group leaders at the club.

She said: “After the accident it put me off cycling. That was until I heard about the club and decided to give it a go again. I like to keep fit and like the pace of cycling, the fresh air and feeling free — with the added confidence that there’s someone there to support me.”

Raeesa, who studies Computing at Blackburn College, added: “It’s given me a whole new confidence and I’m building that up along with my fitness levels each week. It’s also great to meet other new people. I love it.”

The club was set up as a partnership between the Council’s Healthy Lifestyles Team, re:fresh, Blackburn with Darwen’s Connect project, Blackburn College and British Cycling.

Councillor Maureen Bateson said: “This story highlights why groups like this are so important. Well done to Raeesa, her story is truly inspiring and I hope it will encourage more people to go along and give cycling a go.” The cycling group is open to everyone from those who have never ridden before to keen cyclists.