Essex Pedal Power Colchester reached a significant milestone on Saturday, 21 October, as they celebrated giving away 100 free bikes to residents of Greenstead.
The exciting community cycling initiative aims to giveaway over 700 free bikes in Greenstead by the end of 2025, providing residents with the many benefits of cycling, including improved physical and mental health, as well as better access to training, employment and education opportunities.
Recognising the importance of cycling as a lifelong skill and the inequalities in Greenstead, Colchester City Council, Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot and the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board is supporting this community-led project with a £1.039m investment.
Essex Pedal Power launched in Clacton and Jaywick Sands in 2021, and has since expanded into other areas of Essex, including Basildon, Colchester, and Harwich & Dovercourt. The remarkable initiative has gained national recognition for its innovative approach and was recently Highly Commended for the Active Travel Scheme of the Year Award at the National Highways Awards, as well as shortlisted for the upcoming prestigious UKActive Awards 2023.
The Colchester program is a partnership of the Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot, Essex County Council, The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS), Colchester City Council, Sport England, Cycling UK, local community groups and dedicated volunteers.
Cllr Natalie Sommers, Colchester City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “Essex Pedal Power is an extraordinary initiative that we are proud to partner with as a council. It represents a fresh and innovative approach to working with residents and overcoming barriers to cycling in one of our most deprived communities. By providing free bikes, we aim help tackle inequalities and open up new and exciting possibilities for the local residents.”
Cllr Lee Scott, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said: “We all recognise the benefits of active travel – it’s not only better for the environment and people’s health but also reduces congestion and pollution. It’s truly exciting to celebrate that the scheme has already helped 100 residents from Greenstead. This achievement showcases Colchester’s and the county’s commitment to a greener future and the well-being of its residents.”
Essex Pedal Power has already had a positive impact on the lives of many Greenstead residents. Participants have shared inspiring stories of going on group and family bike rides, using their bicycles for commuting purposes, participating in the Clacton carnival, a mother bonding with her young autistic son through cycling, and a resident experiencing improved fitness and mental health during stroke recovery.
Essex Pedal Power is excited to be part of the larger effort to revamp and improve the Greenstead area. The Heart of Greenstead scheme is a key part of Colchester’s £18.2 million Town Deal Funding. The initiative is working with the community to create a new multi-use community hub, improving access to vital services like a new doctor’s surgery and pharmacy, a library, a pre-school, and more.
Applications for a free bike are open to eligible residents in Greenstead. You can learn more about project and apply here: Essex Pedal Power – Greenstead, Colchester – Active Essex