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Rickshaw Revolution Launched

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When local businessman Richard Bridgeman saw the rickshaws in Bury St Edmunds, he was instantly intrigued. “For many years I didn’t know anything about them, then I came across an appeal for a new sponsor. Having always been interested, I went off to meet them. It’s a great project and Warren Services is now a sponsor. My business is in Thetford, where there’s a fantastic community spirit and I thought to myself, why can’t Thetford have these too?” Richard got together with Judy Dow from Norfolk Community Foundation and Julia Nix the East Anglia District Manager for DWP and newly appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk. Between them they devised a plan to launch a rickshaw project for Thetford. Speaking about the project Judy said, “Rickshaws make everyone smile. There’s something joyous about them. We’re not looking to create a taxi service, but something for people with mobility issues or feeling isolated so they can get out into the town and enjoy life a bit more.” The Thetford Rickshaw Revolution was born and recently presented to stakeholders and community groups in the Guildhall.

The project is perfect for Norfolk Community Foundation’s ethos of working with communities, and being for everyone so they can thrive. For the DWP the project offers volunteering opportunities for people looking to get back into work in a safe environment. Julia explained that volunteering gives a person a sense of purpose, social interaction and learning opportunities. Judy said that Thetford is a really special place, people look out for each other and help where they can,

“I really believe that residents and organisations will come together and make this happen.” She said. The Bury St Edmunds project was created in 2018 by Libby Ranzetta along with a team of volunteers. They currently have five rickshaws including one that is a cargo bike. Libby will be supporting the Thetford project

and talked about the different volunteering roles available. It’s not just riders that are needed but also controllers who man the phones to take bookings and look after the riders, chatty chums who sit with participants and either chat or just

listen during the ride and of course a maintenance team to look after the rickshaws. The Bury group even have a shed master who cleans the rickshaws to keep them in pristine condition.

Volunteers need to be aged sixteen and over so they can have a DBR check and can volunteer from a couple of hours a week to as much as they’d like.

Judy is now looking to set up a working party with the aim of getting the first rickshaw in the spring:

• Individuals/organisations who would like to be part of the project

• Funders to help with the purchase of rickshaws, insurance and maintenance costs

• Volunteers

For more information or to get involved please contact Judy at:

[email protected]


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