Two officers from Northamptonshire Police will be among those aiming to travel 280 miles in four days as part of a charity bike ride.
PCs Richard Bathe and Jonathan Meadwell will be riding from Northampton to Ypres in Belgium as part of the ‘Ride For Hope’ bike ride to raise money for the Northampton Hope Centre.
The Hope Centre works to relieve poverty and tackle the causes of homelessness in Northampton, lending support to some of the poorest people in the community.
Both officers are keen cyclists and already have their own bikes but a Cycl-opps bike has been donated to the ride free of charge as a standby bike in case it is needed by any of the participants should they develop a mechanical defect that cannot be fixed at the time.
Cycl-opps is a scheme set up by Northamptonshire Police and its partners to give offenders opportunities to learn bike maintenance and workplace skills and so improve their employability and divert them from returning to crime.
The bikes, which are refurbished by offenders as part of the scheme, are those kept by the police when efforts to trace the original owner have not been successful, or bikes that have been donated by the public.
PC Meadwell said: “Both Richard and I work with offenders to divert them from crime and reduce reoffending. We recognise that one of the pathways to reoffending is a lack of accommodation, and this is such a tough challenge to tackle. It is estimated that having a stable place of accommodation can cut the likelihood of offending by more than a fifth.
“For these reasons it is so important for us to support the Hope Centre and we hope that people will support our efforts by donating to the ride in the knowledge that everything we raise will go to a very good cause.”
The four-day cycle will see a group of 35 cyclists depart from Northampton on Thursday, September 8, taking a route via Cambridge and Harwich before catching a ferry to Holland, taking a route along Holland’s coastal cycle paths, arriving at Middelburg and travelling into Belgium, ending the ride in Ypres.
Detective Sergeant Dina Sunderland, who originally helped to establish the Cycl-opps scheme, said: “The pastry firm Pidy, who sponsor this ride, bought some good quality, low cost Cycl-opps bikes to loan to those who wanted to take part in the challenge; thereby generating more sponsorship for the Hope Centre charity.
“Everyone involved in Cycl-opps wants to give back to the people of Northamptonshire by supporting local charities and highlighting their causes. To date, we have donated bikes to raffles to raise money for the head injury charity Headway Northampton, the emergency blood transport service and as prizes at the recent Hemmingwell community fun day.
“We are delighted to be supporting this charity bike ride and we wish Richard and Jonathan lots of luck.”
To offer a donation towards the ride, visit www.justgiving.com and type in ‘Jonathan Meadwell’.