Bishop's Castle Foodbank customers benefit from free bike scheme

A new partnership between a Shropshire foodbank and a bike hub aims to promote healthy lifestyles among users as bikes are donated.

Janet Marsden from Ludlow Synergy Bike Hub presents a bike to Kerry Powell
Janet Marsden from Ludlow Synergy Bike Hub presents a bike to Kerry Powell

Bishop's Castle Foodbank has joined forces with The Ludlow Synergy Bike Hub to provide refurbished bikes for foodbank users. The bike hub takes in unwanted and damaged bikes are repairs them.

Andy Stelman from the foodbank said he was really excited for the idea when Janet Marsden approached him at first.

"They actually contacted us about a month ago and wanted to offer refurbished bikes to our customers for free," he said.

"I gave a letter out to all our customers and there was quite a big take-up on it. Four customers have had bikes now, with others planned.

"We have given the bike hub old bikes from volunteers and customers that need refurbishment. So its a real partnership, its give and take. Janet, who founded the bike hub, we have got lots to thank her for – for thinking of us in the first place really."

At a meeting on Friday, a bike was donated to Kerry Powell. Bishop's Castle Tennis Club also donated a three-month membership and six free tennis lessons to one lucky customer.

Andy said: "I feel really good that there is real community connections between everyone and the foodbank. These prizes will also promote health and allows for greater mobility for people who rely on transport in the area.

"Transport links in Bishop's Castle are not the most frequent in the world, so having a bike to get around could really help someone. We are trying to promote healthy eating, and thanks to our friends at Little Woodbatch farm who provide fresh fruit and veg, we are looking at promoting healthy recipes for customers."

Synergy Bike Hub is a not-for-profit organisation servicing an area within 15-mile radius of Ludlow. It is entirely run by volunteers and provides low-cost sustainable transport through recycling donated bikes and providing them to people going through hard times.

This local project, specifically covering small towns and villages, recognises the huge value of a free bike for people on low incomes and people struggling with their mental health. At a practical level it allows people to get out, meet old and new friends, attend job appointments and access healthcare support.

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