Pedal power helps the Hamlet Centre

An intrepid group of cyclists has been pedalling around Norfolk to fund a project which gives adults with disabilities a chance to socialise with their peers.

The 11 cyclists, all volunteers or supporters of Norwich's Hamlet Centre, set off from King's Lynn on Saturday morning and cycled 57 miles to Cromer, and another 35 miles on Sunday to Norwich.

The Hamlet Centre, in Ella Road, Thorpe Hamlet, helps children and adults with disabilities and has been fundraising towards a �1.3m revamp of the St Raphael Club in Johnson Place to provide a dedicated facility for its children's services.

However, the cyclists were fundraising specifically for the centre's adult out-of-hours project and are hoping to reach their �1,000 target.

Organiser Julia Harris, a volunteer with the out-of-hours project, said: 'Because of changes to funding, people have to pay a little bit more to become a member of the out-of-hours scheme.


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'We want to make sure the scheme is as sustainable as possible so we decided to do some fundraising.'

The out-of-hours project started in 2006 and aims to increase leisure and social opportunities for members, who are all adults with disabilities.

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Volunteers run a social club in the evenings and at weekends.

Themes for the out-of-hours club are chosen a month in advance by members and recent examples include an ice cream sundae night, a barbecue, soap carving, a music quiz, karaoke and a games challenge.

As well as the clubs, volunteers organise social activities in and around the city such as trips to the theatre, pub trips, meals out, pottery painting, picnics, pamper nights, and a tour of the BBC studios.

Miss Harris, 29, from Bluebell Road, Norwich, said: 'The out-of-hours scheme gives our members the chance to socialise with their peers without their parents and the main aim is to have fun.'

Some of the cyclists chose to just do the first day of cycling, but the rest of the hardy souls camped on a very windy and wet night in Cromer.

Another two fundraisers opted instead to walk the distance of a marathon from Holkham to Cromer.

Miss Harris said: 'It was a very nice route to cycle and the weather on Saturday was quite good.

'But it was hideous weather with the wind and the rain all night and most of us only got about an hour of sleep.

'But we all made it and everyone was quite proud of themselves.'

To donate to the Hamlet Centre's out-of-hours project, log on to www.justgiving.com/Hamlet-Out-of-Hours.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

Volunteers and supporters of the Hamlet Centre cycle are pictured at the end of their journey in Cromer.

PHOTO: COLIN FINCH

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