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A Christmas gift for those less fortunate

A Christmas gift for those less fortunate

Thursday 21 December 2023

A Christmas gift for those less fortunate

Thursday 21 December 2023

Dozens of specially selected children will receive a brand-new bicycle this Christmas as part of the ongoing tradition started by the Sarah Groves Foundation.

Each year the charity purchases and donates around 30 bikes for disadvantaged children, with 2023 being the seventh year in a row this has happened.

More than 200 children have benefitted from the donations over the years which are prepared and inspected by Ian Browns Cycle Shop and distributed by a series of charities and social services who decide which children should benefit.

The only condition is the bikes must be presented on Christmas Day, and that the recipients are kept confidential from the Foundation.

The bikes range in sizes to cater for many ages from toddlers to older children.

Kate Groves said: “It's obviously an emotional thing for me, but it's very dear to my heart. It is Sarah's legacy, and that’s something, isn’t it? This is an initiative that I cherish and I hope I really hope we can do it many more times.

“I think most of us can remember finding that new bike on Christmas morning… but I remember that feeling of excitement and disbelief because I come from a modest background, so I wouldn't have expected my parents to be able to provide a brand-new shiny bike.”


Pictured: Helmets are also provided alongside the bikes.

The services which pick the recipients are Social Services, Safer, HomeStart, Kindred Family Hub, and Bright Beginnings.

Kay Lindsay, Manager of Kindred Family Hub, helped coordinate for all the charities involved, with the Hub itself distributing 10 bicycle this year between social work teams and families who use the centre. 

“It's really lovely to hear how the children were on Christmas morning when they saw the bikes, and we often get pictures sent to us of them riding in the park and things like that,” she said. 

Lisa Blondel, Chief Executive at Bright Beginnings, echoed those sentiments: “The families that we work with are just so extremely grateful for the support from the Sarah Groves Foundation, and waking up on Christmas morning with a present like this is beyond some of their imaginations."

Naomi Wood, Head of Service at Safer, said the team is consulted on which families “they think would be suitable, or in need, and would help them out and give the children a bit of joy that they might not otherwise have”.

Mrs Groves said a highlight from the donations came a few years ago when they were persuaded to supply and adult bike to older boy: “The difference it made was that he went to school every day - you can't put a value on that, can you?”

The Foundation said the financial and personal contributions of Paul Brehaut and Ian Brown “must not be underestimated”, with the cycle team also offering up their premises for a presentation each year.

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