St Peter’s Cycle and Sports Hub has attracted local and national attention since its launch, from Cycling UK and the University of Sunderland.
The Hub is funded by Sunderland City Council’s ‘Go Smarter’ scheme in partnership with Public Health, and run by staff and volunteers from Sunderland Community Action Group (SCAG).
Launched in November last year on a stretch of the city’s riverside and national C2C cycling route, the community facility is next to the National Glass Centre.
The Hub provides a focal point for leisure, recreational and social activities for all ages and abilities including access to affordable hire of a range of bikes and advice on cycle routes and maintenance.
Cycling UK development officer Andrew Thorp said: "What is going on at the St. Peter’s Hub is fantastic, giving people the opportunity to get into and enjoy cycling.
"I’m working with SCAG by training up their staff and volunteers to get even more supported led rides running. Enabling them to get even more people from Sunderland pedalling!
"Cycling UK works across the North East in setting up Community Cycle Clubs to foster more grassroots pedalling groups, sharing the enjoyment of cycling in our region!"
Project manager Richy Duggan said: "We set up this community project with the support of local ward councillors from the North Area Committee last year, and it’s been busy ever since we launched it with 30 to 40 people regular visitors every week.
"People come in either to hire a bike and get some help and advice on maintenance and cycle routes, or get involved in some of the regular sporting and leisure activities we have organised.
"There is literally something for everybody attracting all ages and abilities. From children coming along with their families to take part in one of the escorted group cycle rides, to walking clubs for ‘Mums, Prams and Grans’ and our fishing and dog walkers groups."
The University of Sunderland plans to increase its support and involvement with the donation of ten reconditioned cycles for loan and public hire.
Duggan added: "With this additional support from the University of Sunderland and Sunderland Students’ Union we hope to broaden our appeal, and get more students involved which can only help strengthen the local community."