Foodbank starts new bike hire service
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A community foodbank in Suffolk is turning its hand to lending bikes as it looks to help families get out and about.
The Hadleigh Foodbank has set up a hiring scheme to allow anyone, including non foodbank users, borrow a bike for a short period of time.
The foodbank hopes that the scheme, which will be known as Hadleigh Foodbike, will help those who cannot afford bicycles of their own.
The scheme has been able to purchase 17 bikes for riders of all ages to use.
As well as regular bicycles, the foodbank also has trikes and electric bikes for members of the public to hire.
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The money for the new bikes has come from a National Lottery grant.
The foodbank has seen an up to 300% increase in demand for its help since the pandemic began.
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From traditional foodbank products, the scheme has already moved to provide meals for anyone who may need them.
It was the foodbank’s experience of the coronavirus outbreak that helped to inspire the cycling scheme.
“We realised people could not get out because they did not have transport,” said Angela Gregg, who runs the foodbank with Neil Bevis.
“We thought we could get people to take up cycling.
“The idea is to get bikes for families who want to go out together but don’t have four or five bikes.”
People can borrow the bikes for any length of time between one day and two weeks, with the foodbank hoping that tourists will also get involved in the scheme.
“We are trying to encourage tourists to Hadleigh to help our high street recover,” said Ms Gregg.
As well as buying bikes to hire out, the foodbank were also able to buy themselves a cargo bike to deliver food parcels to families in need.
“We are practising what we preach,” said Ms Gregg.
Should the scheme prove a success Ms Gregg said the foodbank would look to invest in more bikes in the future.
So far, early interest in the service has been good.
“It’s amazing,” said Ms Gregg.
“We have already started getting people saying what a good idea it is.”
All hiring bookings must be made in advance by emailing the foodbank.