The weather stayed fine for a 22-mile cycle ride through the Sussex countryside at the weekend to raise money for Horsham homelessness charity the Ark.
There were ten cyclists and numerous volunteers taking part in the event on Saturday, many of whom receive help at the charity’s drop-in three times a week.
The charity works to support people as they move forward from addiction, unemployment, homelessness, repeat offending and poverty. Volunteers gather at Horsham’s United Reformed Church on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to welcome anyone needing help.
Robert Stones, 48, was one of Saturday’s cyclists. He said: “I have found the community at Ark has been so beneficial for me in sorting my life out. I have epilepsy and that’s the thing that gets me down.
“I didn’t know where to turn. Without Ark I would have gone right downhill.
“I have turned my life around from feeling suicidal. Without this place I wouldn’t be here. That’s how much I appreciate it and that’s why I did the bike ride.”
Robert Aird, who has been going to Ark for about a year, added: “Part of Ark’s philosophy is pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. That was a big driver for me. The cycle ride is not something I would have done unless there was good reason and it would make a difference.”
As well as being a much-needed listening ear, volunteers write CVs, look for jobs, help improve writing skills and help fill in forms.
Ark’s literacy and numeracy co-ordinator and event organiser Zoe Tanswell said: “There are three of us who get together and talk about things we can do to raise money.
“I’m a keen cyclist and a lot of people here use bikes to get around and they were interested. That’s how it started. I had a £500 target in my mind and I think we are just over that.”
Anyone who would like more information about Ark or make a donation can call the charity’s director Lisa Burrell on 07825 284054 or email email@example.com