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Reach Learning Disability bring an end to the Southwell cycling fixture Reach Off-Road

By Advertiser Reporter

A sporting fixture in Southwell which has raised tens of thousands of pounds is set to be scrapped by the very charity it’s aided.

Hundreds of cyclists have taken part in Reach Off-Road – or Tonya’s Bike Ride as it was originally known – during the past decade or so.

But dwindling numbers have forced Reach Learning Disability to try and use their resources better elsewhere.

REACH Off Road 2016, Formerly named Tonya's Bike Challenge, starting at REACH Flower Pod, Southwell.. (6975455)
REACH Off Road 2016, Formerly named Tonya's Bike Challenge, starting at REACH Flower Pod, Southwell.. (6975455)

And so this year the charity is encouraging people to raise funds for them through Ride London and the London Marathon, so that they can increase their profile nationally.

However, those who can’t make it to the capital are being urged to don their running shoes for Reach in the Newark Half Marathon on August 11.

The charity, which helps adults with learning difficulties live independently in the community, has day centres at both Newark and Southwell, plus a Southwell Flower Pod where clients can gain a more horticultural-based experience such as growing flowers to turn into confetti and making wreaths.

The annual bike ride was originally the idea of (Reach user) Miss Tonya Hinds and was organised by her and her grandmother, Miss Beryl Smith, for a number of years.

Hundreds of cyclists have taken part, raising tens of thousands of much-needed cash in the process.

But Reach fundraising officer, Sarah Cobb, said last year’s event only attracted around 230 people, prompting a review.

“Events have a natural life span,” she said, adding that the bike ride needed to be staffed by around 100 volunteers, besides seeing thousands of cakes baked.

“It was a lovely event but it wasn’t doing what it needed to do for the charity,” she continued. “It’s sad because people always looked forward to it, but we wanted to end on a positive.”

Now the charity hopes to better utilise people’s energies going forward with a range of new fund-raising challenges.

Anyone interested in raising money should visit the charity’s website, www.reachuk.org, later this month.


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