Cyclists at an Oxford church rode seven times around the Oxford ring road to fundraise for a new children’s clothing and equipment bank.

On Saturday 11 cyclists set out on the Hope Oxford Charity Bike Ride.

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The team, based at the church in East Oxford, is raising £38,000 for Small Steps, a new children’s clothes and equipment bank, which is due to open in Templars Square shopping centre this autumn.

The church is asking for good quality new and secondhand clothes and equipment for families who have been finding times hard during the coronavirus lockdown.

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One route of 56 miles included circling Jericho seven times while another group cycled 111 miles, seven times around the Oxford ring road.

Oxford Mail:

One cyclist, a lecturer at Oxford Brookes University, said: “With good company and breaks (stopping at a pub for coffee) the miles slipped by easily.”

The team was boosted by a free cooked breakfast, thanks to Sue, Paula and the team at Beefeater Longwall who offered regular refreshments.

After meeting at 6.30am and arriving back at 5.30pm, Josh Kay, 38, who co-leads Hope Vineyard Oxford with his wife Katie, said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported and sponsored us.

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“We have made a great start in raising funds and we’re excited about the children and families we will meet through Small Steps.’

Looking to the future, Mrs Kay said “Anyone and everyone is welcome, we want people of all ages and backgrounds to be involved in making this new project happen.

Oxford Mail:

“We are still working towards our fundraising target, and would value any further donations.

“We would also love to hear from people who would like to volunteer skills or time to support local families through this initiative.”

The church website said: “Some families in and around Oxford are experiencing significant hardship. This has only intensified with the coronavirus outbreak.

Oxford Mail:

“Many more have lost or will lose jobs and livelihoods, with a number under great financial and emotional strain. Right now we need each other more than ever.

“During lockdown we have seen incredible community spirit and together we can make a difference.

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"Hope Oxford exists for all people. We are passionate about helping to alleviate the devastating effects of poverty on local people.

"We’re launching our first community focused initiative, Small Steps, from our new home at Templars Square Shopping Centre.

Oxford Mail:

“Good quality new and second hand children’s clothes and equipment will be available to families that need it.”

Money raised will pay for start-up and staffing costs.

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Hope Vineyard Oxford is an evangelical church that was launched in 2017 and meets online and at various locations.

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