Fundraising boost for park bike scheme

A BIKE repair and hire centre is about to get under way in an Ipswich park thanks to a cash boost.

Jessica Gallagher

A BIKE repair and hire centre is about to get under way in an Ipswich park thanks to a cash boost.

Orwell Mencap is to take over part of the old stable block in Holywells Park to set up its Green Bike Project.

Run through its Genesis service, people will be able to hire bikes to ride routes accessible from the park - National Cycle Route 51 passes through it between the Cliff Road and Myrtle Road entrances.

The initiative was given �50,000 through the Big Lottery's People's Millions Scheme where TV viewers can vote which project they think deserves the money the most.

Genesis provides care, support and training for people with learning and physical disabilities and the new scheme will see trainees refurbishing old bikes so they can be hired out from the park.

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Old cycles from landfill sites and from people thinking of throwing them out will be used. Genesis will also run cycle repair workshops to teach individuals or groups how to repair their own cycles.

Ipswich council has granted part of the lease of the stable block to the charity and has now given them planning permission so work can begin.

The lottery money will enable them to pay for the renovation of part of the building.

The scheme has the support of the Friends and Management Board of Holywells Park.

Judy Terry, who is responsible for arts, culture and leisure at the council said: “We are looking forward to Genesis getting this scheme under way and we are delighted to have assisted them.”

Robert Downes, Chair of Orwell Mencap, said: "We are grateful for the valued support that Ipswich Borough Council has given us to get this project off the ground, the financial support from the National Lottery's People's Millions scheme and, of course, all the people who voted for us.”