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New Forest cycling charity Pedall awarded £297k Lottery grant

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A CHARITY which promotes inclusive cycling in the New Forest is expanding its services thanks to a nearly £300,000 Lottery grant.

Pedall, which has a range of specialist bikes to get those with additional needs out cycling, said the cash will enable it to support elderly people with dementia and young people with mental, physical and behavioural challenges.

As well as employing another ride leader, the Burley-based charity will use some of the £297,000 to offer work experience and apprenticeships to young people with additional needs.

A Pedall volunteer out with a group in the Forest
A Pedall volunteer out with a group in the Forest

Donna Neseyif, the charity's project manager, said: "This funding is a lifeline for us, and without it we wouldn’t be able to deliver the number of rides or help the wide range of people we do with such varying needs. We are all about helping people improve their health and wellbeing and connect with nature, and cycling is the perfect way to do this."

The charity has direct access onto the Forest's designated tracks and aims to make cycling available to all, no matter what difficulties they face.

It has three and four-wheeled bikes, as well as tandems, and since 2017 has provided more than 7,500 rides led by qualified staff and volunteers.

Helen Bushell, senior head of regional funding at the National Lottery Community Fund, said: "We are delighted to award this funding for the Pedall project, which will provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy cycling and improve their physical wellbeing and confidence, all while enjoying their local green spaces.

Minstead Trust members out on Pedall's specialist bikes
Minstead Trust members out on Pedall's specialist bikes

"Thanks to National Lottery players, projects such as this across the country are playing a vital role at the heart of their local communities, and will continue to do so as we rebuild and reconnect with one another throughout this year."

Originally called New Forest Inclusive Cycling, Pedall was started in 2011 by the national park authority and New Forest District Council after receiving a grant from Hampshire County Council. It is now run by the Friends of Pedall, supported by the NPA.

Patrick Heneghan, Pedall project board chair and NPA member, said: "It’s more important than ever to support this project this year. Covid has affected us all, some more than others, and it is vitally important we are here to cater for those in need of extra support.

"We still have a long way to go to hit the match-funding monies to fully support this project over the next three years. So, if you or any local businesses are looking to get involved to help your local community, we would love to hear from you."

For more information or to make a donation, go to www.pedall.org.uk, email info@pedall.org.uk or call 01590 646640.

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