There has been a large uptake in cycling since the start of the pandemic. People are looking to the wonderful, wide-open spaces and fresh air we have here in Norfolk to explore and exercise away from the crowds. Cycling is a way for families and individuals of all ages and backgrounds to exercise in a relatively safe environment.
However, many of those have little knowledge or experience of maintaining their bicycles to ensure they remain safe on their adventures. Look around and you will see lots of people riding their bikes with half flat tyres, squeaky chains and worn parts.
Wonky Wheels Community Bicycle Workshop is a new charity based initiative aimed at providing free education, training and support to the local community to allow them to get into cycling, or maximise their enjoyment of cycling if they already ride. We want to ensure that the influx of interest in cycling resulting from the pandemic is prolonged.
We need your help in raising funds to deliver to the community a safe, well-equipped bicycle workshop led by trained and passionate volunteers who donate their time to helping others be active through cycling.
With restrictions on social contact since March 2020, we want to provide a place for community members to bond and feel that sense of connectedness again over a common interest whilst promoting a healthy, active lifestyle.
The Hethersett Memorial Playing Field Trust (HMPFT) is a registered charity set up in 1992. By supporting the local community, the Trustees ensure the playing field and facilities are available for use by residents, groups, clubs and members of the public.
Throughout the years, the landscape may have changed but the objective of the charity has remained constant:
“Provision and maintenance of a recreation ground for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Hethersett without distinction of political, religious or other opinions, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.” It sounds rather grand… but it’s an aim the trustees continue to take very seriously.
The local community in Hethersett and surrounds is thriving and growing. This, combined with the limits placed upon it due to the current pandemic has led to an increase in uptake of cycling in and around the area. We would like this growth and sense of wellbeing to continue, and so the Memorial Playing Field Trust would like to utilise the Hethersett Hawks Cycle Speedway Club’s facilities to create a community workshop that allows us to provide the following services:
- Regular free courses that teach participants the basics of bike care and maintenance to help them have the knowledge needed to ride with confidence. Topics covered will include bike parts and safety checks, puncture repair and prevention, and cleaning and lubrication. Our workshops will be Covid compliant and limited places will ensure that each attendee is given the time they need to learn effectively
- Special child-specific workshops to teach them how to look after their bikes.
- Provide a place for community members to drop in and perform basic repairs to their bicycles for free by using our tools and equipment. This will bring the community together and encourage new levels of socialisation once Covid restrictions have been lifted.
- Refurbish bicycles donated to us so that we can provide them to people who may not otherwise be able to own a bicycle. By providing the opportunity to take part in cycling, especially to those who have been directly impacted financially by the pandemic, we will be enabling more people to be active
In order to achieve this, we are asking for your generous donations to support the community with the following:
- The purchase of a range of tools, equipment, spares & PPE to allow community members to learn new skills and maintain or repair their bicycles in a safe and effective way
- Training and enablement of our team of volunteers to run regular courses and staff the workshop
- Provide an accessible toilet and small kitchen facility onsite
- Install a rainwater harvesting and waste management system
The workshop will be a community based, volunteer-led initiative overseen by the Charitable Trust and the Hawks.
The clear benefit is that people who attend the workshop will have roadworthy bicycles, but we are hoping to go way beyond this. We envisage we will achieve the following:
- Provide a sense of connectedness, community spirit and increased social participation between all members of the community. This is especially important now that we are seeing the end of restrictions
- Enable community members to expand and strengthen their skills and knowledge that will help with other aspects of life. This will help people with opportunities in the wider world such as paid employment opportunities
- Empower people to find a revived sense of purpose, a place to chat and build new networks which will increase the health and wellbeing of the community.
- Offer roadworthy bicycles for free to members of the community who may not otherwise have access to one, especially those impacted by the pandemic
- Deliver a kitchen and toilet facility that can be used by community members including the neighbouring croquet club which is regularly attended by elderly residents and the local dementia group
Simply put, please make a donation to get this great community-focussed initiative off the ground. We believe that your generosity, combined with our passion to deliver for the community will provide lasting benefits and a model for others to replicate. Who knows, you may even come and visit us to learn and develop your enjoyment of cycling!