Wheel Potential A Community Interest Company “Providing Adapted Cycling for Adults”
Wheel Potential Directors’ Report for the year 01.02 2017 to 31.01.2018
This is a report on our second year as a Community Interest Company. It has been a busy year and we have learnt a lot. Last Spring, we had an open day showing the container, the cycles and ourselves to existing and new groups of users. The Sheriff joined us and had a go on several machines; Greggs donated 100 splendid doughnuts which were much appreciated by all visitors, and Serco staff who are always helpful on site. The container has been painted with anti-graffiti paint once it was bought (a donation from Directors) and anti-climb paint around the doors is designed to deter Parkour activity! The appearance is much improved.
User groups are completing usage forms and incident forms when there are difficulties and we visit at least twice a week to pick these up and deal with them. We have added signs to help users remember where each cycle goes, and instructions about not piling them on the wheelchair transporter platform. A new, purpose designed, booking system was introduced by one of our user groups (Omigaman) who also provided a website. This was done for a much reduced cost and we are very grateful.
During the year we received grants from the Canterbury Area Members Panel and Catha’s Seat towards insurance, website/booking system, repairs and maintenance, from Alpkit towards the cost of a tandem trike, from the English Rose Sisterhood towards buying T shirts and from Kent Community Foundation for the cost of painting the container. We also received subscriptions from our user groups.
During the summer we attended Catha’s Seat picnic to thank them for support and explain our activities. We also had a film made by Superreel for Kent Sport’s KUDOS award event. This is available on our website now and shows a learning disabled group and a group of older people with disabilities caused by Parkinson’s talking about their experiences; it is very moving. We were runners up for the award but have posters and a finalist ‘statuette’ which are displayed in the container. This display was made possible with the help of students from Canterbury College who fitted wooden panelling inside the container doors; we thank them. Gill created a logo for us, as on the top of this document, and we have T-shirts made with this design which were used at the KUDOS event and which she saw despite not being able to go to the event.
A problem that needed attention was the surface of the Coxwell gravel part of the Great Stour Way on the approaches to the cattle grids. The surface had been washed away and this means that every cattle grid on this section of the track started with a large metal step; we think this was responsible for a split tyre on our semi-recumbent trike. We are all Sustrans rangers and arranged for a group workday to take Coxwell gravel from the heap by Milton Bridge, and level out the cattle grid approaches. This involved wheelbarrows, shovels, tampers and the wheelchair transporter, and has improved the situation; we have not been able to prevent large puddles on this section of track.
Organised by Gill, we visited Wheels for Wellbeing in London to see a similar organisation which has been operating for much longer, and to compare equipment and means of access. Theirs is an activity depending on their staff and volunteers being present when clients visit to use the cycles, so they charge per use and provide hands-on support which we cannot do; however we did see some different trikes which will guide our future purchases.
A big change this year has been of a director. Sadly, Gill Corble (who features in the film on our website), who was an inspiring organiser, logo designer, webmaster, grant seeker, contact with Wheels for Wellbeing, enthusiast, soul-mate and friend, died in September. We are very lucky to have found Mark Thomson, whose introduction to us was at the start of the open day, being sent to collect Doughnuts with the large yellow trike (with big baskets). After an ‘interesting ride’ he was hooked, and later agreed to become our third director, and chairman. Mark has made Business cards with our logo and website on, and these are proving very useful. We found it easier to change bank – now that Metro Bank has opened in Canterbury – than to change the signatories on our Co-op account. Things are now settled, and we have a team who work together well.
We are grateful to Canterbury Cycle Centre who manage our more demanding repairs and deal with hydraulic brake systems even on machines that won’t go through their doors. They give us a discount too!
We wish to thank Giles Seaford of Active life for his support and the occasional use, for meetings, of his office. We couldn’t have started without him and it is reassuring to know he is still keeping an eye on us.
At the end of the year, another result of our open day and work day was the offer of a second container, so we can spread our machines out making them easier to access, and acquire more of the most popular types. Ruth Goudie, senior transportation officer at the City Council, agreed to extend our peppercorn rent contract to 2 containers, and gave permission for DDS from Thanet to dig out the site, and lay membrane and sleepers for the second container to rest on. Thanks to them for this valuable work, and to Ruth for smoothing out the necessary procedures with the City Council.
We are also very grateful to BAM Nuttall for providing an elderly, but perfectly serviceable, container, free. The delivery happened on February 15th, strictly after the year end. User groups will all be given keys to the lock of the second container once it is made airtight/watertight and we have cycles inside it.
And last but very much not least we want to thank our volunteer mechanic, Peter Clements, whose skills range from managing Student labour with woodworking tools, fixing cycles, pumps, locks and more, drilling holes, filling holes, painting containers, making tea, and doing anything else that is needed.
Beatrice Shire, Frank Guthrie and Mark Thomson (Volunteer Directors Wheel Potential CIC)