Youth award to Thetford Christian based project

Carl Clarke and Joshua Murad
2012: Thetford Cycling Forward, a community project led by Pastoral Outreach Worker Carl Clark, was recently awarded the 2012 Bernard Matthews Youth Award for the Environment to add to its increasing collection of honours.

On Tuesday 30th October at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the Open Youth venue in Norwich, youth volunteer Joshua Murad (pictured right alongside Carl Clark), accepted the 2012 Bernard Matthews Youth Award for the Environment, in association with the EDP, on behalf of community project Thetford Cycling Forward.

The environmental award, which comes with a £1000 contribution, follows three years of hard work recycling hundreds of bicycles that would have otherwise gone into landfill.  The Thetford Cycling Forward initiative began at the Bishop's CEVA Primary School on Thetford’s Abbey Estate by Pastoral Outreach Worker Carl Clark.  Carl continues to run the award winning community project based on Christian values.

Bicycles which would otherwise have gone to waste are given to families without bicycles who are referred to the group by support agencies.

Carl Clark explains: “We have now recycled over 400 bicycles and donated them to families who are struggling or just in need of a blessing, with several hundred other bikes repaired in our community at no cost.   Over 3000 people have used the project since it opened in January 2010.  From a health perspective, it is exciting to see entire families out cycling for the first time.

“Each time we have struggled we have handed it over to the Lord, listened and then God poured his blessings on the group, which can be as small as four or five youth, or in the summer as many as 100 youth helping to repair and recycle bicycles”.

For his work on the project Carl came runner up in a Volunteer of the Year Award 2011 from Sustrans (Green Transport Category).  The project was also awarded a Helping Hands Award for Community Work in 2011 and the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum at Thetford’s Shadwell Stud has awarded the project a grant for tools and equipment.

Carl said: “Shadwell Stud are a blessing on our community for helping local community groups and schools in the area with support and grants.  It is great that Christians and the Islamic community help and support each other, which is a success story not often reported in mainstream media.”

Joshua Murad who accepted the Bernard Matthews Award on behalf of Thetford Cycling Forward has been volunteering with the project from the start.  Carl said: “He is an absolute pleasure to have had working with me and mentoring others.  Josh gives 100% to whatever he does with a smile!” Carl was unable to attend the awards ceremony following a serious illness.   


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