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Handover of Community Vehicle to Stroud District Foodbank

On the 11 March our Community Vehicle students from Chipping Sodbury School handed over a Ford Connect van to Stroud District FoodbankThe van was donated to the Wheels Project by Avon & Somerset Constabulary.  The students had previously visited the Foodbank Centre on 11 February to gain an insight into where the food comes from, is sorted and distributed.  The van will be used to help move the various items the Foodbank needs to transport around the District.  With over 5000 people supported last hear and over 50 tones transported around, the van is much needed.

Will Mansell, Project manager said, "This van is a real blessing.  We were pleasantly surprised when we got the call telling us we were going to receive it!  We will be able to take some real strain off our current volunteers who have to resort to using their own vehicle to help us and will now be able to use this one.  Not only that, but we will be able to be far more efficient in the way we work, meaning it will be cheaper and more effective".

The 8 students from Chipping Sodbury School have spent the year learning how to service the vehicles and learning about road safety.  The programme was sponsored by The Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

Gifting of Community Vehicle to Campus Skatepark

On 17 March our Community Vehicle students from Merchants' Academy handed over a Ford Transit van to Andre and Tim from Campus Skatepark. Andre was delighted to receive the vehicle and said "I am sure it is going to get much love and use." This course was funded by The Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund.

Handover of Community Vehicle to Bristol Reconnect

On 16 March our Community Vehicle students from Orchard School handed over their Ford Connect van to Bristol Reconnect. Jonathan, Liam, Rusha and Vanessa were delighted to receive this vehicle. Jonathan has said, "We are incredibly grateful to the students from Orchard School, the staff from The Wheels Project and their funders, Henry Smith Charity, for providing us with a vehicle. This vehicle will make a big difference to the lives of some of the most marginalised people in one of the most deprived areas in the south west of England.

Bristol Reconnect works with and is majority-led by, people who have faced the multiple challenges of homelessness, mental health issues, substance misuse and having criminal convictions.  We have a strong focus on supporting people through training and through working together to be able to take an active and positive role in the wider community. A major focus for us recently has been the development of a community café, due to open shortly; Café Connect.  Café Connect will not only provide affordable, sustainably sourced and healthy food to the wider community, it will provide training opportunities in cooking, nutrition and working in a catering environment to the vulnerable adults we support.

The vehicle we've received from Wheels will make an enormous difference to us, for example, allowing us to easily collect donated raw ingredients for Café Connect.  We have plans to establish another training kitchen about a mile away from the café. Being able to transport goods between the two locations is essential.

The vehicle will however not only support our café it will also support the other work we do. We've previously been involved in woodland management, just outside Bristol, taking people on camping trips for a few days and working on large scale art works. All of these things require transportation - we've had to hire vehicles and often we've been unable to do these activities because of transportation issues. Now we'll be able to expand these activities - and start new ones. A current plan for example is the development of a bike mechanic training course for our client group, in co-operation with Life Cycle UK, a cycle charity. We'll need to be able to transport bike parts and tools between different locations.

Overall this vehicle will make an enormous difference to us - the timing is perfect - in a few weeks our café will open!"

This Community Vehicle programme was funded by The Henry Smith Charity.


Handover of Meriton Group's Vehicle to Farms for City Children

On 13 March our Community Vehicle Programme students from The Meriton handed over their vehicle - a Peugeot Expert Van - to Heather Tarplee of Farms for City Children.  The course had been supported by monies from the Big Lottery Reaching Communities Fund and Equitable Charitable Trust.

Heather Tarplee has said, 'We are delighted to be working with The Wheels Project and The Meriton again and that Farms for City Children is to be the recipient of a donated Peugeot Van.  Farms for City Children is an educational charity which has been welcoming inner-city primary school children for almost 40 years.  These children come with their teachers and stay at one of the three farms run by in - in Devon, Pembrokeshire and here in Gloucestershire.  Many children come to us who have very limited experience of the world beyond their housing estate and we aim to fully immerse them in rural life and involve them in all aspects of farming and food production.  From feeding and weighing pigs, collecting eggs, mucking out horses and moving sheep to working in the kitchen garden and checking the bees in the orchard, the children learn so much from a week here.

As a charity we heavily subsidise the costs of these visits to the schools to allow more children to have this experience.  However running farms is expensive and just like commercial farmers we need equipment and vehicles to manage our farms - having this versatile farm vehicle will be a massive help, initially here at Wick Court and then at Lower Treginnis in Pembrokeshire where they currently have no vehicle for moving supplies, pulling a livestock trailer and all the other errands that are needed to run a rural business.

We are especially delighted that the van has been restored by girls from The Meriton, we have worked with the school before and have welcomed a group of them and their children to the farm as well as meeting them at the workshop.  It is fantastic that this project gives them such useful life skills and will end up benefitting many other groups of children.  We would like to thank everyone from The Wheels Project, The Meriton, The Equitable Charitable Trust who have helped with this project that will be such a huge benefit to our work.'



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