CYCLISTS who raised thousands of pounds to help a community bike project move home flocked to the launch of the new base.

Windrush Bike Project, which helps volunteers gain skills and confidence through rescuing and refurbishing abandoned bikes, welcomed almost 50 people to its facility on Corn Street, Witney, last Wednesday.

The event served as a thank you to the various residents and organisations who raised £9,000 to help the initiative move from Cogges Manor Farm to the town centre workshop.

Read again: Residents raise thousands for community bike workshop

The scheme has become a huge part of Witney’s cycling community, teaching 550 children to ride a bike in the last year, and its director, Kath Cochrane, revealed it was on the right track.

She said: “The project is becoming more viable as we get more people through our doors.

“Since moving we have more than doubled our opening hours and volunteer time at the workshop.

“There’s a demand there and we still need to tap into that demand, in terms of more people getting their bikes fixed by us.

“We need people to use us like a bike shop. We’re definitely growing but we’ve still got more to do.”

Ms Cochrane, from Leafield, began teaching children to ride in 2015 and the scheme eventually became the Windrush Bike Project.

The project runs several activities around the central idea of giving volunteers the opportunity to refurbish donated bikes alongside trained mechanics.

Patched-up cycles are either given to those in need or sold to keep the workshop running.

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Wednesday’s event was a chance for residents to find out more and even play games, including races to remove and reattach an inner tube.

Schoolchildren and disadvantaged young adults are the chief beneficiaries, but the service is also popular with retired people and Syrian refugees.

In August, the project moved into the new base and set up a crowdfunding page with a target of £3,000, which would contribute towards running costs.

This was raised within a month, while the rest of the total came from organisations including Witney Town Council, the Tesco Bags for Life Scheme, and charities the Jim Cousins Trust and Bartlett Taylor Trust.

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County councillor for Witney North and East, Suzanne Bartington, also pledged part of her Councillor Priority Fund.

The Corn Street unit means the scheme can cater for its more vulnerable clients, run events and provide extra services and training.

Since moving in, 17 people have attended bike maintenance courses, three people have completed a build-a-bike and take it home course and 10 people have enrolled in bike maintenance for wellbeing courses.

In the last week, the project has given bikes to four people who need them.