Southern Co-op gives grand donation to support new CYCALL bike scheme

Martine Walters with staff at Southern Co-op's Ferring store
Martine Walters with staff at Southern Co-op's Ferring store

Plans to provide adapted cycling equipment for all disabled people in Worthing have been given a big boost.

CYCALL, a new Community Interest Company, has been given £1,000, its first big donation, by Southern Co-op’s Ferring store.

Staff were keen to support the couple who came up with the idea, Martine and Rob Walters, of St Andrew’s Close, Ferring.

The aim is to provide accessible bikes which will not only help those with disabilities but also those needing support with things like dementia and social isolation.

Martine, 45, knows only too well how important it is to not let a disability stop you.

She explained: “I have a degenerative muscle wasting disease called Charcot-Marie-Tooth which I was diagnosed with in my teens but my husband doesn’t let anything stop us.

“The bikes will allow people to take a support worker or friend with them. However, we have also got a team of buddy riders lined up to accompany people such as those isolated by illness or age. It will be a social experience for them.”

Martine, who used to be a special needs teacher, first came up with the idea after seeing similar projects in other counties. She noticed the majority of them focused on disabilities rather than the wider social benefits for the whole community and she wanted to take the idea further.

She added: “We are a small charity and all of us are volunteers so the donation from Southern Co-op is just amazing. I am completely overwhelmed at the wonderful donation and we hope it will jump start others to support us in the future.”

The first target is to buy a side-by-side trike which can accommodate a second trike on the back and have up to four passengers at once.

Initially the bikes will be based at a static location, while the CIC adds to the range available.

But the hope is to eventually get them on the road with the help of a mini-van and deliver them to people’s homes or hospices for those unable to travel.

Tessa Gray, manager at the Ferring Street store, said: “When Martine first told me about her cause, I thought it was a really lovely thing to support to be honest because its so community friendly.

“She is very local to us as well so it’s nice to be able to support someone in the community that can support more than one set of users – there’s quite a lot of people that can take advantage of it.”

CYCALL is already planning further fundraising activities supported by the independent regional co-operative, including marshmallow toasting at Ferring’s Christmas light switch on.

Visit www.justgiving.co.m/crowdfunding/cycall for more information about the charity.

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