The Helping Hand Awards are part of the National Lottery’s 10th birthday celebrations, which mark the impact the Lottery has made to people’s lives throughout the UK.
There are six categories in the award scheme with the UK Life award being the biggest as it recognises the greatest overall impact to UK national life made by the larger of the lottery-funded projects.
The National Cycle Network faces stiff competition from Tate Modern and the Eden Project.
The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony at Tate Modern in London on 6th November with highlights from the event screened by BBC1 later in the evening.
To vote for the National Cycle Network call 0871 872 1918. Calls cost just 1p from BT landlines.
In the Amazing Space category, the Millennium Coastal Park in Wales is one of the three shortlisted projects. One of the largest environmental enhancement projects in the UK, the park opened to the public in June 2002. Open to all visitors at no charge, it stretches from Pembrey Country Park in the west to the National Wetlands Centre of Wales at Penclacwydd in the east and is a magnet for cyclists. Part of the National Cycle Network runs through the park.
To vote for The Millennium Coastal Park, call 0871 872 1905.
In the Local Legend category, the cycling interest is served by Jim O’Donnell of Community Can Cycle. This was founded in October 2000 on Glasgows Castlemilk estate. As a keen cyclist, O’Donnell was frequently asked by local children if he could repair their bikes (for free). The project developed from his sense that cycling was an important recreation which could also give children a taste of independence, but that many low-income parents in the area were not able to afford bikes. When he came up with the idea of collecting the kids discarded lemonade bottles and Coca-Cola cans for recycling to generate the money needed for spare parts such as saddles and tyres, Community Can Cycle (CCC) was born.
In less than four years, CCC has gone from a volunteer set-up to employing five people full-time, including Jim ODonnell, who became project manager. The turning point was 2002, with the establishment of the projects own recycling centre.
Community Can Cycle has found itself up against increasing competition from commercial recyclers. Despite this, it has developed an impressive network of 500 collection points within a 25-mile radius. The project has also had a diverse impact on different groups of people, for example, it collected enough cans to buy 20 new bikes to lend to schools for kids wanting to take their cycling proficiency tests, sent 15 bikes to Romania for orphans suffering from terminal illnesses, and has helped a blind man to cycle.
To vote for Community Can Cycle, call 0871 872 1901.