Two keen cyclists are planning a “Light to Light” charity bike ride next month to raise money for the Eric Gray Centre’s hansel fund.
Cunningsburgh man George Nicolson will tackle the charity cycle from Eshaness lighthouse to the Sumburgh lighthouse on 1st August. He will be joined by his wife’s aunt Linda Irvine from Fife, a keen cyclist.
Further fund-raising will happen later in the year, including a variety concert in Cunningsburgh on 20th November.
George, who is in the transport business and operates buses and does courier work, employs the mother of one of the Eric Gray’s clients. Through hearing about the work of the centre, he became aware of the needs for this comfort fund, and realised he could help by doing the bike ride.
He said: “I’ve been training by cycling round Cunningsburgh whenever I can.” However, he should not find the ride too much of a challenge, as he has been cycling since he was a child and has done the Light to Light 67-mile trip before, albeit 10 years ago, when it took him about eight hours. It might take longer this time, he speculated and added: “If we get a fine day it will be a bonus.”
The Eric Gray Centre provides support to people aged from 16 to 65 with learning disabilities or autism. George said it would be up to the centre to choose what it wanted to buy with the sponsor money, but it could be used for special equipment or to go on trips.
The services encourage each individual to participate as fully as possible in everyday life by promoting independence. Clients receive vocational and recreational learning opportunities and experiences, and are encouraged to fulfil their personal goals.
Each client has a personal development plan, in which they are taught personal and social skills, including road safety and household skills, and are encouraged in motor skills development.
They can work towards Youth Achievement Awards, which start with “taking part”, and then, at another level, progress to topics such as managing leisure time, managing money and using transport.
Clients can also benefit from the resources in the community, and can attend courses such as Access to Core Skills at Shetland College, which include cookery and IT. They are also able to go to Clickimin for healthy activities such as swimming.
Sponsor forms for the bike ride are available from George, Eric Gray Services and local shops.