Rickshaws that raise a smile to offer 'joy rides' again
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A rickshaw charity that delivered essential supplies during the coronavirus pandemic will soon be helping people get out and about once again.
Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw saw its work diverted during the "frenetic" 18 months of Covid - with its volunteers making about 40 vital deliveries every day at the height of the crisis.
Now the charity is about to settle back into its original role of offering free rides for local people experiencing social isolation.
The full ‘joy rides’ service will resume on August 21, complete with two new rickshaws and a wheelchair bike, and the return of 'chatty chum' volunteers to accompany solo passengers.
Bury Rickshaw co-founder Libby Ranzetta said she was "just so glad" they could help during Covid.
She said: "I feel proud but also really happy we were able to respond quickly to what was needed and adapt and very quickly be up and running to deliver essential supplies around the town to our vulnerable customers and many, many more people who we knew were having to shield or stay indoors."
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As well as transporting prescriptions and shopping, Bury Rickshaw has also been taking people to their Covid jabs and other essential appointments.
Libby said it was a "wonderful feeling" to be offering rides again after months of Covid restrictions, and encouraged people to book.
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"We know that the return of rickshaw rides will be very welcome for many people who have been stuck at home. What better way is there to get out in the fresh air and see our lovely town?"
The cargo bike transports donated food from Greggs and Tesco to homeless projects and the Still Good Food initiative and can also transport wheelchairs.
The St Edmunds Trust paid for a winch to help wheelchairs get onboard, and are amongst many supporters of the rickshaw charity, which started in 2018.
Libby added: "We always get a smile and wave wherever we go. Drivers are courteous. It's really lovely. It really feels we are part of the town. It's humbling."
The new machines have been funded by locality grants from councillors from Bury St Edmunds Town Council and West Suffolk Council, with running costs supported by sponsorship from local businesses.
Libby said: "We're grateful to the councillors, individuals and businesses who continue to support us."
All rides are free and passengers are collected from their home if they live in Bury or a car park if they travel in from elsewhere.
To book call 01284 339449 or visit the website.