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Pedal power proves a great source of support for homeless

CTC group

On 1 October, over 200 cyclists and walkers gathered at Cannock Chase to raise money for Birmingham’s new homeless shelter, Tabor House.

Despite the drizzly, grey weather and the early start, there was a sunny atmosphere throughout the event at the Staffordshire beauty spot. Men, women and children of all ages challenged themselves to complete one of five possible routes, targeted at all levels of fitness and ability.

Father Michael White of Sacred Heart in Tamworth led a Mass before the event in which he spoke about Tabor House and the exponential rise in homelessness in Birmingham over the last five years. He talked about the difference Tabor House would make to vulnerable people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham, offering not just a bed, but the support to move on from the streets. Lea Hall Brass Band created a party atmosphere, playing uplifting tunes as participants began to depart.

With several different routes, there was something for everyone. Walkers took in a five mile woodland walk, while those wanting a gentle ride could enjoy a five mile off road cycle. The more adventurous could challenge themselves to a 20 mile off-road route, which offered a scenic tour of the beautiful Cannock Chase. Father Michael reported that he had spotted a magnificent stag on his ride! And for those wanting a longer ride, there was a 33 mile and gruelling 66 mile route along the surrounding country lanes.

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All of the routes were a great opportunity for people to take in the sights and have fun while helping a worthy cause. And whatever level people participated at, they were cheered along and rewarded with a slice (or two!) of homemade cake at the end, all donated by event organisers, Swinnerton Cycles.

Thanks to wet weather the day before, mud played a big part in the day with the off-road riders coming back covered from head to toe. They didn’t seem to mind though, laughing and joking as they collected their baked reward.

 

Although the final figures are yet to be tallied, early indicators show the event has raised over £4,500 for Tabor House.

The event wouldn’t have been possible without the committed support of Swinnerton Cycles. They made all arrangements for the day, registered participants, served drinks and baked the all-important cake. In fact, as well as cake, they provided a two course meal for the hungry: hot Staffordshire Oatcakes and melted cheese, followed by apple crumble and custard – well worth the miles!

/media/news/library/fr-michael-cropped.jpgFather Michael said, “I’d like to thank you all for doing the ride. And especially the organisers, Swinnerton Forest Centre at the Chase.  They and their volunteers worked so hard to put on what was an incredibly successful event, raising almost £5,000 towards the set-up and first year’s running costs of Tabor House. It was also a really enjoyable event that got some people back riding their bike after years of it being left abandoned in the shed. People loved the fact that they were taking part for such a worthy cause and in such a beautiful area. In fact, it’s all been so positive people are looking to get their names down for next year already!”

And the week before, Fr Roger Peck from the Parish of Our Lady & St Huberts raised over £1,000 in aid of Tabor House as he took part in the first ever Birmingham Velo – a demanding 100 mile ride around Birmingham and surrounding areas. This fantastic amount will make a huge difference to the people staying at Tabor House.

Tabor House is a partnership project between the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, Father Hudson’s Care, Housing Justice, corporate philanthropists, the Birmingham Rough Sleepers Team, Midland Heart and Irish in Birmingham to address the exponential rise in homelessness over the last five years in Birmingham. Tabor House is Birmingham’s only permanent night shelter, offering safety, support, warmth and encouragement to people without the basics and necessities of life. It welcomed its first guests in September, ahead of its official opening on 10 October, to coincide with World Homeless Day. To find out more, visit the Tabor House page on this website. 

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