An event held in Clacton on Saturday 12th August, saw residents, local organisations and bike recipients come together as part of the Clacton Carnival procession, to celebrate two years since the launch of Essex Pedal Power in Clacton & Jaywick Sands.
The successful community-based initiative has made cycling more accessible for people living in Clacton and Jaywick Sands, with over 800 new bikes currently distributed to eligible residents, with a further 500 to be given away throughout the next year. Adapted bikes are also available for applicants living with a disability, through a partnership with the Wheels for All charity, with 17 adapted bikes given away so far.
The Essex Pedal Power Clacton & Jaywick Sands programme is a partnership of the Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot, Essex County Council, SELEP, The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS), Tendring District Council, Community Voluntary Services Tendring, Bikeability Trust, Raleigh Bikes, See Sense, Sport England, Cycling UK, London Marathon Foundation, as well as local community groups. The project also included the installation a £1.7m upgrade of the cycling path between Clacton and Jaywick Sands, which has seen cycle proof paving and solar panel powered lighting along the route. The path has enabled residents to cycle safely to the shops and to see family and friends.
Since launching in June 2021, Essex Pedal Power has made a positive impact to the lives of those who have received a bike, as well as creating new community cycling groups, a brilliant cohort of 20 volunteers and regular learn to ride training sessions, which have seen over 150 people attend.
The benefits that Essex Pedal Power has brought to the local community are endless, including improved access to training opportunities, education, and employment further afield. Weight loss, increase in physical activity levels and improved mental health are just several additional benefits as stated by recipients. The programme is significantly supporting Essex’s climate change agenda, with cyclists reporting that since receiving their bike, they use their car 3 times less a week on average.
Rosie-Roella Kevlin, Essex Pedal Power Clacton & Jaywick Sands Coordinator said: “Since being with Essex Pedal Power from the very beginning, it has been great to see the way in which it has blossomed into what it is now. We aren’t just giving away free bikes; we are helping create and sustain a community. We offer those who may not have the same opportunities as others, the chance to explore their local community, meet new people and access jobs and volunteer roles. Watching it expand into other areas of Essex shows that all the hard work to get where we have, has been worth it. The success of the 2-year celebration is only a sign of things to come!”
Phil, an Essex Pedal Power bike recipient explained: “Essex Pedal Power has been absolutely fundamental to my wellbeing, both physically and mentally, and it is so much more than just cycling. The group has helped me to engage in other local activities as well, it is a true credit to the community.”
Cllr Mark Stephenson, Tendring District Council Leader, said: “Essex Pedal Power is a brilliant initiative which is going from strength to strength, and that is only possible due to the hard work of those who run it – and, crucially, the amazing spirit and energy of those taking part. The project is providing massive benefits to people’s lives, not just in activity and physical health, but emotional and mental wellbeing too, and that really shone through at the Clacton Carnival.”
Due to it success, Essex Pedal Power has now expanded into Basildon, Colchester, and Harwich and Dovercourt. Over 150 bikes have already been distributed across the three new programmes since launching in June 2023, helping thousands more people in our most disadvantaged communities to enjoy the many benefits of regular cycling.
Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, said; “It’s been wonderful to see the Essex Pedal Power community grow over the past two years. It’s having a huge impact on people’s lives in the communities they live in and the friendships that are forming as a result. Essex Pedal Power is continuing to provide a free method of sustainable active travel to recipients, improving their wellbeing and helping to contribute to the reduction of pollution levels and traffic congestion in their local area. Essex Pedal Power expanding into other areas is a result of the great work and platform that the team in Clacton and Jaywick Sands have created.”
The second-year anniversary in Clacton and Jaywick Sands, isn’t the only milestone that Essex Pedal Power has celebrated recently. Now with four programmes running across Essex, the community cycling initiative just distributed its 1000th bike, with plenty more still to be given away to eligible residents.
To find out more about Essex Pedal Power, click here