Brakes put on Preston cycling charity project after travellers move onto park
Travellers have stopped a charity from putting on its weekly cycling scheme -which helps disabled riders - after descending on the venue.
The Wheels for All cycling project takes place on Preston's Moor Park on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
It is used by both able bodied and disabled local people who lean and enjoy cycling through the scheme.
But travellers moved onto the park on Monday, forcing project organisers to cancel the sessions and tell those booked onto them that they could not take part.
Yunus Suleman is co-ordinator for Wheels for All in Preston, said: "They (the travellers) turned up on Monday. I went to have a look at it.
"They're near the football pavilions where they get changed for football.
"We have disabled bikes and normal bikes we run every Wednesday. While they're here we can't use that at all.
"The last time they were there they made a lot of mess at the front."
The Wheels for All initiative is a nationally-recognised programme that embraces all children and adults with disabilities and differing needs, to engage in a quality cycling activity providing fun and stimulating cycling across the UK.
The charity says by using specially-adapted cycles, the activities are both physically and mentally stimulating and above all fun for everyone involved.
All the centres are equipped with specially adapted cycles and Wheels for All trained leaders, who have the knowledge and confidence to work with adapted cycles for participants to enjoy the benefits of cycling.
The centres welcome individuals, groups and families to be involved.
Yunus said the Monday and Thursday sessions were for adapted bikes, which attract up to 35 riders each of the days.
Wednesdays are for all comers and beginners and usually get around nine people.
He said the project was just getting back on its feet again following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We're just about opening now," he said. "We need hand sanitisers and everything.
"The charity has lost money because we ask for a donation of £4."
Yunus said he had to ring nine people on today's session to explain that it was not going ahead."
He said the project catered for organisations such as Preston Day Services and the Brothers of charity in Chorley and individuals , too.
He said he was "disappointed" it could not go ahead, adding: "When I go there, not only are they happy, but they make me happy."
Councillor Robert Boswell, Cabinet member for environment and community safety at Preston Council, which runs Moor Park, said yesterday: “Our officers have been liaising with the family group from the travelling community currently on site at Moor Park who state their intention is to leave the Preston area today.
“This is a large public park and it’s hoped disruption to local residents and park users will be minimal.”
The travellers were still there today