Hundreds saddle up to cycle 100km across the UK    

Scores of cyclists got on their bikes (Saturday 24 May) to take part in the Wheels for Change 100km cycling challenge, setting off from seven Barclays Premier League affiliated football grounds.

In aid of UNICEF, the world’s leading organisation working for children and young people, and supported by Barclays, an estimated £220,000 was raised which will help young people in some of the world’s poorest countries. 

The seven 100km routes started and finished at the following Barclays Premier League affiliated venues: 

  • Cardiff City stadium;
  • Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park;
  • Fulham’s training ground at Motspur Park, South West London;
  • Liverpool FC’s Family Park, Anfield Road;  
  • Manchester United’s Old Trafford;
  • Newcastle United’s training ground at Darsley Park; and
  • Birmingham Road, outside West Bromwich Albion’s The Hawthorns.

Around 250 participants took to their bikes. Among them was legendary fundraiser, ‘Blind Dave Heeley’, 59, of West Bromwich, who counts seven marathons in seven days across seven continents as past achievements.

Dave, who took part in the Wheels for Change route from West Bromwich’s The Hawthorns, said: “The ride went well and I was happy to take part in Wheels for Change, it’s for a really good cause helping youngsters stand on their own two feet.”

Catherine Cottrell, Deputy Executive Director of Fundraising, at UNICEF UK said: “What a fantastic achievement by all the cyclists who took part in the challenge. On behalf of the young people who will benefit from the money raised, I would like to say a huge thank you to not only those who cycled but also to everyone who sponsored them. It just proves how the power of sport really can save and change the lives of children and young people around the world.”  

Money raised from the Wheels for Change event enhances the ongoing work of the Barclays and UNICEF Building Young Futures partnership.  The global partnership, which began in 2008, provides disadvantaged young people with the employability, enterprise and financial skills they need to find work, or set up their own small business. Almost a quarter of the world’s young people are unemployed and the problem is getting worse.

Musa Matovu, 23, who lives in a small rural village in Uganda, is just one of the young people benefiting from the Building Young Futures partnership. 

In Uganda, a staggering 80 per cent of those aged 15-24 are unemployed and face bleak employment opportunities. 

Musa, 23, who had to drop out of school to earn money to help his family, dreams of one day becoming a mechanic. 

“I have missed the opportunity to become an engineer because I couldn’t  complete my education, but repairing vehicles is the next best thing. There is a garage in town where I train for free. I hope to find ways of raising capital and one day open my own garage” he said.

The Building Young Futures training programme is helping Musa learn business, management and finance skills. He will then be able to apply for a grant so his dream of becoming a mechanic can become a reality.

Shane Hawkins, Founder of Wheels for Change and a Managing Director at Barclays said: “Wheels for Change was an amazing day, raising a fantastic £220,000 for UNICEF..Wheels for Change is about making a real difference to young people, like Musa, helping them to build stronger futures for themselves and their communities. Everyone involved should be proud of what they’ve achieved.”

--ENDS--

Notes to editors:

To find out more visit the Wheels for Change website:www.wheelsforchange.co.uk

For more information, please contact:

Lou Garrett UNICEF UK 020 7375 6047 LouiseG@unicef.org.uk or the UNICEF UK Press team on 020 7375 6030

About Wheels for Change

Founded in 2011, UK-based Wheels for Change is a Barclays supported initiative, which raises money for UNICEF to help disadvantaged young people. In a series of seven cycling events, open to the public, the initiative aims to raise money for UNICEF to help build stronger futures for disadvantaged young people around the world and their families. For further information, please visit the Wheels for Change website: www.wheelsforchange.co.uk #wheelsforchange 

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do.  Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.  UNICEF UK raises funds for UNICEF’s emergency and development work and advocates for lasting change for children everywhere. We are a UK registered charity, supported entirely by voluntary donations. We do not receive any money from the UN. For more information, please visit unicef.org.uk

About Barclays

Barclays is an international financial services provider engaged in personal banking, credit cards, corporate and investment banking and wealth management with an extensive presence in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. Barclays’ purpose is to help people achieve their ambitions – in the right way.

With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs approximately 140,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.barclays.com.As part of Barclays’ Citizenship strategy, it is committed to change 5 Million Young Futures by 2015. Barclays is investing not only money, but the time and expertise of Barclays’ colleagues in community programmes that will enhance the enterprise, employability and financial skills of the next generation. These vital skills will help disadvantaged young people overcome the social and financial challenges they face, better provide for themselves and their families, and ultimately, support longer-term growth in the economy.For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.barclays.com

About Building Young Futures

Set up in 2008, Building Young Futures is a partnership between Barclays and UNICEF with the aim of helping to tackle youth unemployment by enabling disadvantaged young people – between the ages of 15 and 25 – to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to set up their own business or find a job. Between 2012 and 2015, the programme aims to directly benefit 74,000 young people in six countries. Building Young Futures works in communities with high unemployment rates. Through a combination of the expertise of Barclays’ employees and the experience of UNICEF, we are transforming the prospects of vulnerable young people living in these areas.