Essex 'demonstration town' gets cash boost ...

More than £15,000 of grants have been given out to cycling projects in Colchester.

Grants totalling £16,117 were handed out by Cycle Colchester to support 11 projects to encourage people to get on their bikes, aiming to cut congestion and improve health. The money came from a budget given to Colchester as one of 18 towns and cities to be awarded Cycling Demonstration Town status.

The awards ranged from £2,000 grants for NHS North East Essex, Kingsland Church and Colchester Leisure World to provide secure bicycle storage, to £500 for Colchester Rovers Cycling Club to sponsor the Jock Wadley Memorial Cycle Road Race.

Footprints Theatre Company was given £1,957 to stage a Cycle and Seek event in the town on Easter Monday, which will combine a treasure trail and bike ride for families.

Cycle Training East and Re-Cycle, which refurbishes donated bikes for developing countries, were awarded £800 to give maintenance and safety training to children.

Lyn Barton, Colchester Council’s environment spokesman, told the Chelmsford Weekly News: “This scheme gives the community the chance to pinpoint the improvements they would like to see made as part of the Cycle Colchester project.

“The range of applications received was really diverse and we are looking at running the scheme again later this year.”

Will Bramhill, of Colchester Cycling Campaign, said: “Having the funding to make these improvements is one of the real benefits of being a Cycle Town. It’s great to see such a variety of suggestions coming forward.”

Plans have been submitted to Cycling England which aim to increase the number of people cycling regularly in Colchester by 75 per cent.