Brakes put on Croydon charity cycle fund
Croydon Council is spending £25,000 on a study to improve cycling in the borough while a cycling charity for disabled people struggles for survival.
Over the past three years, Cycling for All, which needs £35,000 to survive, has been awarded between £20,000 and £25,000 by Croydon Council through funding the council acquired from TfL.
Last year, the charity, run by Wheels for Wellbeing, based at Croydon Sports Arena in South Norwood, helped over 400 disabled people and their families cycle on three and four-wheel bikes, but this year it has been told their funding application has been unsuccessful.
Separately, the council has been given £25,000 to carry out a feasibility study into making Croydon more cycling friendly.
Janet Paske, the manager of Wheels for Wellbeing, said: “The council has no statutory duty to fund us. In 2007 it gave us £20,000 from a Transport for London (TfL) local implementation plan. The following year we got £23,000.”
In the past financial year the charity received £25,000 and also had funding from the Peter Harrison Foundation.
Ms Paske said: “Croydon Council has always said we must not rely on them for funding and we have not.”
She is appealing for help from businesses to raise the money they need.
Will Plant, who has a physical impairment, has been using the scheme.
He said: “In our case, people who struggle to walk can ride a cycle, giving them exercise they can’t do otherwise.”
Jo Ward, mum to Harvey who has autism, said: “This is a wonderful scheme for kids with special needs. They can practice their cycling skills in a safe place and there is a nice selection of bikes.
Harvey loved it and will definitely come again.”
Janet Paske, the manager of Wheels for Wellbeing, said: “Cycling for All gives disabled people lots of fun with their family and friends. Cycling can also give a senseof freedom and independence, which others take for granted.”
A council spokesman said: “The council has supported Cycling for All obtaining start-up funding from TfL for the past two years to get it off the ground.
“Biking Boroughs funding is separate from this, and our objective for it is to deliver a plan for cycling in Croydon.”
If you can help go to justgiving.com/ wheelsforwellbeing, visit wheelsfor wellbeing.org.uk or call 020 7346 8482.
Croydon Council will do a feasibility study will look into: q Traffic-free routes to parks and open spaces to encourage cycling uptake.
q More continuous sections of cycle lane on roads with direct connections between the town centre and surrounding areas.
q A network of convenient maintenance and repair shops.
q Secure, covered cycle parking at East and West Croydon stations and shopping centres, as well as places, such as Mayday Hospital and Selhurst Park.
q Introduction of a cycle hire scheme to let aspiring cyclists test the water without having to worry about buying or storage.
q Allowing cycles on trains to get around some of the borough’s hilly inclines.